- Category: Coffee with a Slice of Life
- Published: Saturday, May 11, 2019
- Written by Dianna Flett
“My kids are going to kill me.”
I remember a mom coming by my office one lunchtime years ago when the boys were all very young. She smiled whimsically as she glanced at a photo of my babies.
I was a wreck at that point of my motherhood experience. My hair had grown out of whatever color I’d slapped on it the last time; my eyes were bloodshot, and earlier, before a meeting, I was cupping my hand up to my mouth, breathing out and then in to see if I’d remembered to brush my teeth. The nights tending to four boys age 5 and under were a blur of activity and not much sleep.
“You know it only gets harder as they get older.” She turned on her heel and headed out of the office leaving me staring in disbelief. Her words stung my brain as I processed what she’d said.
I wanted to run after her and throat punch her. How in the world could that be true? How in the world could it get harder than going for weeks without sleep, cleaning up spill after spill, managing tantrum after tantrum and spending more cumulative time in the “time out” space than any grown woman should have to spend?
As the boys have grown to men, I get it now. The transitions we’ve gone through have been hard—really, really hard. And now they are men.
I no longer control anything in their lives. I don’t always know where they are. I mean exactly where they are. I don’t screen and check who they are with. I don’t know if they are getting enough sleep, wearing their retainers or cleaning their ears. Gone are the days when I could pull them in and hug them whenever I wanted to or appear as the wise sage with an answer to everything. I have been replaced by Google.
Now the “boys” are either at college, on some education abroad program, or driving themselves who knows where to do who knows what. In many ways my early mothering had been a clunky sort of logistical experience. Feed them, change them, coach them and discipline them. Now mothering has turned into an art. Now my children have a vote as to whether they listen to me or not, whether they come home or not, whether they step out and live according to how we’ve raised them.
When they visit they have their own ways of doing things and while they aren’t terribly different from what they were taught I’ve had to accommodate their habits of staying up late or going out for coffee with friends at 10 at night.
Every time they pull away from the house I’m still amazed that their feet touch the gas pedals. How is it I can’t lift them to me and hug them with their legs dangling in the air? Now I have to climb the stairs and turn around so I can see them face to face.
Their little boy issues are now adult man issues and believe me the adult issues are way more confounding.
“Mommy, fix my bike chain” is much more doable than “Mommy, fix my heart.”
“Mom, I’m going to Timmy’s house” is much more calming than “Mom, I’m going rock climbing with just a tiny little piece of white twine that can’t possibly prevent me from plunging down the side of a cliff, a sheer wall of rock that will break my legs and leave me lying in the pit of my own making.”
What was a simple issue of finding the right baseball team has become watching as they try to find the right career path, and whilst these are all their life decisions I can’t help but want to be invited in for counsel and perspective.
Sometimes I am.
And sometimes I’m not.
I know. They’re men now but I sure do miss those little guys. The ones who ran circles around my chair, the ones I could soothe with just a hug or a Batman Band-Aid, the ones who would race to see me when I came into a room.
“It gets harder as they get older.”
She was right. It does. In so many ways it does.
And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
I love you boys.