It’s hard being a Mom, to choose to “…decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body” – Elizabeth Stone
One minute I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of teaching another human how to do…well, everything beyond crying and soiling himself. Now I’m staring into the baby blues of a grown hairy, bearded man.
When I became a mom, I envisioned sharing Eskimo kisses as we baked cookies together, not cleaning up cow pies that rivalled an actual cow. I never anticipated looking like a zombie –with a newborn who wants to party all night, or a kid who was having bad dreams about zombies. I swore I’d never hear my mother’s words coming out of my mouth, and yet here they are…hanging in the air!
I couldn’t wait for him to smile and speak, to crawl into my arms – and then, I was bombarded by knock knock jokes and slammed doors. I went from my clothes being covered in snot, to dealing with a little snot!
And then suddenly, as if I blinked a few seconds too long, that perfect pink squalling bundle of joy was learning to drive, looking for his first job, packing up his room…and I want that time back! I want the snuggles and the butterfly kisses. Heck! I’d even take a diaper or two just to know that my little boy is safely enfolded in the walls or my home, and not out in the big bad world.
And when the shock of how fast the “watercolour ponies” rode away, I was faced with the deep realization that I have to redefine not only my role as “Mom”, but my role as a person. My job description was constantly changing, and behind the scenes, somewhere between the Thomas the Tank Engine obsession and his first video game obsession, so did I.
Just like my young adult, I was suddenly faced with a future for which I had no plans. It was like a gaping black hole threatening to crush my soul. My head knew I had to let him go, and I wanted to be happy and to build his own life. Hasn’t that been my goal and my role as a Mom? But my heart was tempted to hold on a little longer. My head won – I knew if I clung to him, I would end up pushing him farther away.
I keep choosing to look at the future, not as a dismal abyss, but as a blank slate. This blog has been part of picking up a piece of chalk and writing a new chapter, to push myself to try some new things. It’s been an opportunity to rediscover the old and comfortable, to savour the “opera of the every day”. To figure out what I like. To reflect on where I have been, and where I would like to go.
It’s taking some time. Sometimes it gets messy. But I am slowly re-discovering just how cool I am (OK – “cool” maybe isn’t the right word. I’ve never been “cool”). I’m learning to be content with who I am and where I am going.
“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell, I know right now you can’t tell. But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see, a different side of me.” – Unwell, Matchbox 20
For my kids, I will always be Mom, ready to answer an SOS call when it comes, but I like that we’re also becoming friends. (Maybe he’s discovering how cool I am…) I love that we can laugh together, play video games together and just hang out. (I was even cool enough to see Star Wars with him and his friends).
Someday I will be replaced by another woman in his life, just as it should be, and I’m hoping he will once again discover just how “cool” a parent I am, with his own parents’ eyes. In the meantime, Little Guy is growing up and I’m going to have to do it again. For now, I’ll capture the moments, laugh a lot, and get ready to pick up a new piece of chalk!