This weekend has been a weird one for me. The kids were due to be with their Dad, so it shouldn’t have felt so odd…. But it did.
My eldest went away on a four-day school trip. It’s the first time that he has gone abroad without either parent. He wasn’t allowed any electrical devices – which meant he couldn’t take a phone. So he can’t contact me if he feels homesick. And I have no way of calling him, you know, just to check everything’s OK.
The honest truth is, I know he will be having an absolute blast. The school is so slick at organizing these trips, and my son himself is a very sensible child, so I have no concern for his safety.
What’s more, two of his best friends, who are also sensible kids, are on the same trip. I can only imagine that they will be going to bed and talking all night. Then up early to do their activities. By the time they return they will be exhausted and frazzled. And knowing my child, as I do, I am expecting him to return tired and grumpy!
But when I dropped him off at the school bus on Friday morning, with his rucksack on his back, it really hit home that my little boy is not really a little boy any more. He is a teenager in the making, with an attitude to go with it!
My job may not yet be done, but I can feel the early signs of being ‘phased out’!
Friends of mine have commented that it’s wonderful for a boy of his age to go on such an exciting trip. And they’ve all said how good it is for his independence and maturity.
I agree wholeheartedly. But there is another issue…
As a mother, we have to learn to let go. We have to learn that we will, eventually, be phased out. And of course, this is natural progress. I am aware that now my children are slightly older, I have become less tolerant of screaming toddlers. And I’m sure, in time, I will be ready for my kids to become young adults.
The thing is, before I get to that stage, I’d really like to just ‘freeze frame’ them for a couple of years. Because these really are the magical years. Old enough to be a little bit independent, but no so old that they won’t let their mother kiss them goodnight, or climb into bed on a Saturday morning.
And so, when my pre-teeny son arrives home tomorrow, tired and grumpy, I will give him a big hug, listen to all his stories and savour the moment.