Monday, November 25, 2013

Missing Chapters in the Parenting Handbook

I've always thought I was a good mother.  I went into the job  eagerly and loved almost every moment of it.  (The many sleepless nights and being puked and pooped on weren't that much fun.)  And knowing that my 3 daughters know the goodness of their God, that they are kind, loving and are learning how to be responsible for themselves and their actions also speaks well of the way they were raised.  They are great kids, and I am extremely proud of them!

Mind you, I was far from perfect as a mother.  My lovely Ex got top marks on loving them and accepting them for who they were; I wasn't very good at that until experience knocked some sense into my head.  But then he was lacking in the discipline, consistency and expectation departments; and I was good at those things.  We balanced each other out, he and I.  

Then all too soon, he died; and I had to manage the job solo (with the love, support and prayers of family and friends)

Very hard work alone!

So, when the last one graduated, I smiled and said to myself:

"You did it, Sandy!  No one is pregnant or in jail.  Good job!" 
 (High fived myself too.)

So, I should feel satisfied, right?  I mean, my life is good; there are no real reasons for me to feel distressed.

But often lately, even in the middle of my lovely life, and often even in the midst of people and busy-ness, I am overcome with nostalgia and longing for my girls.  I stop suddenly and think "OMG!  I need them!"  I don't want them home with me (one doesn't want to go THAT far!); but I want them "near".

I long to hear their voices.
     I taught them to strike out on their own and learn through making mistakes.  I taught them how to make good friends and to be a good friend; to find a job, to fend for themselves; to remember to take care of themselves physically and emotionally.  I forgot that all this would take time and energy which meant less of the same to be spent on Mama. 

I long to touch them.  
     I taught them to have dreams and to pursue them.  "Travel!"  I said.  "See as much of your world -- big or small -- as you can!"  I told them time and time again "Get off your arse!  Don't feel sorry for yourself; get out there and do, not just for you but for others too!"    But I was so busy teaching them to 'go for it' that I forgot that I'd still be here at home; and that their wonderful, busy lives meant that I wouldn't see them as often as I might want to.  

Did I miss some chapters in the unwritten parenting book?

You know:  the one that explains how to cut the apron strings without having them whip back and tangle me up?  Where was the part that showed me how to teach them to stay really connected to Mama while being independent at the same time?  Where was the chapter that would warn me that even when we're all of us grown and happy, I'd still ache to cuddle with them. 

This aging process is difficult -- for me and for them as well, I suppose!  My babies are not babies any longer ....... which is good, because I can't do that again at this age!

But ohhhhh!  

To have them stop being adults for an hour or so and just let me rock them and nuzzle their sweet smelling necks!  

That might suffice! 



Being a parent is a seat of the pants job. Wanting them to be near never ends.

Cranberry Morning said...

Good luck. :-) We raised our kids to be independent and self-sufficient. Guess what - they became independent and self-sufficient. They're great adults, but they live far away and I seldom see them. I have friends who managed to keep their children in the neighborhood. Where did I go wrong??! :-)

Jill said...

I feel your pain - my daughter was living in Edmonton for a couple of years, it was way too far, now she is 2 1/2 hours away and my son 4 hours - I can live with that!!

kate steeper said...

pregnant or in I had one announce she was pregnant at 15 quite casually then she said dont worry its due between school and college ????...Its turned out well all round 5 years down the line but it was a shock at the time


As always you give me food for thought and always a good laugh. I feel the same about my three girls. Now I've just lost my husband and hope I can move on and no t be too needy. We never get over needing them. Hugs.

Sybil N said...

Love that last image ... "I'll love you foverever, I'll like you for always, forever and always my baby you'll be" ...