I really didn’t like being pregnant. I know that’s not a very popular opinion and, if I were a YouTube influencer or had a following on Twitter (Twitter bores me…yet another unpopular opinion), I’d likely get a bunch of crap about it. But I’m just one woman in the universe who did not like being pregnant all that much. There you have it. I kept thinking that once the baby was born everything would be okay.
And it was, except that if you’re doing your job right, from the moment they separate from your body, that’s all they do for the rest of your life. They spend their entire lives trying to separate from you.
Which is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
For the first time since I had kids, I really wish that I had a normal mother/daughter reference from which I could draw guidance. I don’t really know what a normal feeling is about letting them go – even though I’ve been doing it since the day Lori moved into her own place in Baltimore. How am I supposed to do it? I am constantly second guessing myself and wondering if I’ve done it right.
I stand between honoring my feelings of loss and longing, and letting them go with love and guidance. I fight very hard not to let them know how much I miss them needing me, relying on me, letting me care for them. I stand stoically by while they make plans for and move through their lives that, rightly, do not include me. Many times they do not even seek advice and that’s okay…in fact, sometimes I like it better that way so that, if it doesn’t work out, they can’t blame me…but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it – even just a little.
For example, for the first time in…well…ever, Mother’s Day will have only one of my chicks at the table. One is with my bonus son and his wife because said bonus son just graduated with his master’s degree from a college about 3 hours away. It’s a long story but suffice to say he is exactly where he needs to be right now. (And let me just say that the master’s degree for this bonus son is the best Mother’s Day gift ever.)
Another is on his way to board a cruise with his fiance who works for the cruise line (how cool is that…I mean…for reals). They don’t get to see each other very much because of her job and the fact that he’s still in graduate school so this is a much needed week for them to reconnect. Again, he is exactly where he needs to be.
The rest are just living their lives. ‘Nuff said.
My mother guilted me every mother’s day to make it all about her even after I became a mom. Of course no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough but that’s a story for another day. I am left with trying so hard NOT to pass on any of that shit to my kids that I don’t know what the hell I should be 1. feeling and 2. doing about it.
Side note: I found what I believe is going to be a great therapist. She’ll be hearing about all of this. You can bet your sweet ass on that.
Anyway, I think this is the hardest thing about being a mom. Harder than putting the first on the school bus at the tender age of five. Harder than being told, “I can do it!” Harder than being told, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Harder than finding out they are doing something or going somewhere they didn’t ask/tell you about first. Harder than realizing that, if the world turns the way it’s supposed to, you are slowly being replaced in their hearts. Harder than no longer being able to kiss the boo-boo and make it all better (I mean seriously…that one sucks so bad.)
This is where I get confused. How am I supposed to feel about this? I can tell you how I DO feel.
I feel left out. I feel bereft. I feel less needed. I feel physical pain sometimes when I think about the fact that they are always leaving. I feel lost. Alone. Confused.
But wait! There’s more!
I also feel so fucking proud of these adults I’ve helped raise. They are genuinely good people who make good, well thought out decisions. They are kind. They are generous. They stand up for those who can’t. They love unconditionally. They lead by example. They get their hearts broken and heal stronger. They are well-balanced and successful.
Well shit – THERE’s the Mother’s Day gift! These amazing young adults who have grown up to be all that – in spite of their crazy-ass mom.
At the end of the day, I don’t think I could be happier about these offspring. And while the leaving is the hardest thing about being a mom, the result of that is the best because it means that they’re going to be okay.
And they will always know that I will always be here ready, to be their mom in whatever capacity they need.
BTW – check out the Google animation today. It’s a pretty good representation about the different phases of motherhood.
So to all of the moms out there, happy mother’s day! Celebrate yourself today. We’re a pretty badass group.