Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Not-Yet Empty Nest

There comes a point in a mother's life when she realizes she just has to let go, so that her baby can make his own mistakes and live his own life. She has to give that boy the opportunity to try new things, experience his own brand of excitement, and learn to cook his own dinner and do his own laundry. And while in doing that, a mother would almost certainly gain a lighter workload at home and fewer I Hate You!'s tossed her way, she would probably also find herself walking around in a constant state of anxiety-- wondering if he's remembering to look both ways before crossing the street? Did he put his seat belt on? Did he eat something better than ramen for dinner? Are his socks able to walk themselves to the laundry room yet?

We're not even going to mention the fact that in giving your baby his freedom, he in turn gives you wrinkles and gray hair. There simply is no justice in that, and it is not a fair trade.

My oldest son will be 16 in six short months. He will be wanting ride around in cars driven by his friends. He will be wanting to ride around in a car driven by himself. He will want to have girls riding around in a car driven by himself. And while I have a hard enough time accepting the combination of my son and the driver's seat of a car, the image of the combination of my son, a car and a girl..... well, it makes my eyes glass over, my body curl into a fetal position rocking back and forth, and my mouth to utter the phrase Its Not Real over and over. And over. Simply put, I.Am.NOT.Ready. Not ready at all.

It's not that I don't want him to be more independent, or able to do a lot of things on his own. Really, I think I would quite like it if he started doing his own laundry. The constant need to wash football and baseball uniforms gets a little old, if the truth were told. No, it's that I don't want him to grow up.

When he grows up, there will be no more football games to go to. No more baseball games. No more late night calls to come pick the guys up from the movies. No more text messages from school reminding me he's out of lunch money. When he grows up, there will be no more arguments about having spaghetti for dinner, he just won't ever make that for himself. There won't be any more mad dashes through the house looking for stray socks to make sure they get in the washer, or random school projects in various stages scattered about. No more weekends spent on English papers he'd rather not write.

When he grows up, he won't need me any longer.

And that? That is what I'm not ready for. The wrinkles and gray hair? Those I can handle. Watching my baby grow into a man? Not so much.

5 comments:

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I so get what you mean. It's wonderful and impossibly sad all at the same time.

Hallie

Kidzmama said...

He'll still need you. Not in the way he needs you now, but different. He'll still need your support and love. He'll need to know that you will still be there no matter what, whenever. He might move very far away and not come back for weeks or even months, but you will always be in his heart. Always.

Mike said...

Hey, I'm 30 and I still let my mom send me home with care packages!

Kids will grow up and learn to appreciate you .... sometime after 25.

Slick said...

Ah, don't you wish sometimes we could just send them through a machine that pushes their age back a little bit?

My 14 yr old son is getting close to that independent age where all he wants us for is rides, cook meals, and clean his clothes.

I hate it too...

Shellie said...

Letting go is so hard, but how else will they get to where they can take care of us when we get too old to take care of ourselves.