Yesterday something really quite fantastic happened to me. It probably wouldn’t rate that highly for most people, but for me, and for other parents who are knee deep, no make that neck-deep in raising children, yesterday’s occurrence has been a long time coming. Allow me to explain…
For just a little more than the past eleven years I have been a mother. With that comes the feeling of being responsible for others, all day, every day, all day and all night long. Nobody can truly explain what this feeling really is all about, it just becomes part of who you are when you become a parent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing, but it can sometimes be a very draining thing. When I am with them, I am ‘on duty’ and when I am away from them, I still find myself concerned with…Are they okay, are they alright? Today, that feeling went away (sort of), for a whole two hours!
We are away on our Spring vacation. I love the beach. I should probably say, I really love the beach. After spending almost the entire day at the pool, I still wanted to go to the beach. Surprise, after a marathon five hours at the pool, nobody else concurred!
In the past I would have moved straight into presenting my case as to why going to the beach would be great idea, why we should all go, what a fabulous family time we would have once we were all there. Nope, not this time. Instead, I simply said that I would be going, they were welcome to join me but if not, I hoped they all enjoyed what they were going to do in the condo. In fairness I should say here, my husband technically didn’t have a choice, his decision was made for him. He had work to do, but my girls actually chose to stay behind, and his being at the condo made it easier for them to choose to do so.
Therein came my release, they CHOSE to let me go. That statement might well ruffle a few feathers. More than one of you might retort, “It’s your own fault, you have let your children manipulate and control your comings and goings, you should have been firmer with them when they were younger and they would be used to it by now.”
To you I say, My children don’t control my decisions, but they do influence them. When they were younger I did adjust my comings and goings because I knew that it provoked unnecessary upset and anxiety. I could have gone off and done what I wanted to, when I wanted to, but my children would have paid the price. Sure, they would have appeared to ‘get used to it’ but it would also have affected what you don’t see, that what happens inside of them, that which I value more than almost anything else, them truly growing up. They have had me there when they needed me, and now that they are more secure within themselves they are ready to release me (now and again) because they feel ready within themselves to have me go and they know I will be back.
For those of you who are developmentalists at heart you’ll understand when I say that there is a difference in being made to grow up and being given the space to grow up. My girls found their own reasons yesterday for staying behind, for letting me go. They chose to stay behind and they felt good about it, I chose to go and I’m not gonna lie, I felt great about it!
This day has been a long time coming, and it has been worth the wait. It won’t be like this everyday, but it will on many days. When your children are little, you don’t think that these days will ever come, but I assure you, they will. They did for me and I can enjoy them that much more knowing that I did what I felt was right in the days that lead me to today. It feels worth it and I can say…
It finally happened, my children rejected me, but in the best way possible and for the right reasons.
I was free, really free. They had released me by being fine with me leaving them! No complaining about me going, no trying to change my mind, no nothing. Before my surreal moment could lapse, I had my beach chair, towel and book gathered up in a flash of speed. I was out of that door before anyone could rethink their postion. I actually had to stop myself from breaking into a full sprint towards the elevator. I felt free, really free!
Once outside the reality hit, this moment could still be taken from me. I walked (at a hasty pace) down the path just below our first floor condo just waiting for a little voice to call to me from the balcony. I could hear it in my head “Wait for me Mom, I’ve changed my mind, I will come with you…” Nothing, no voice from above came. Keep walking, keep going, just don’t run…Other people will stare, you’ll look like a lunatic!
I made it to the beach. I swear I could hear music when I arrived. It was in my head for sure, but I definitely heard that kind of singing that angels do in the movies ‘Ahhh ahhh ahhhh!’
Alone, all alone, but not lonely!
The next two hours were pure bliss. No one knew my name, no one asked me for anything. It was just me, my beach chair and my book. This moment was a long time coming, but it was here now, I was fully present and I enjoyed it for what it was.
Hang in there Fellow Parents. These moments will find their way to you too one day, you just have to be patient. Really patient.
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