A guest post by Lucy from The Parent Game Blog
I had an opportunity to write a guest post for my friend and she mentioned that I could write it about anything I wanted. Which got me thinking. There’s a subject that crops up in my head now and again, and I’ve often wondered if I’m alone in this one, or if other parents feel the same. So read on, and tell me, is this normal, or am I just a little bit loopy!
I’ve been a mum for nineteen years. I have, without exception, loved every single minute of it. I was very lucky, my first daughter, who I had at eighteen, was very, very easy going. Slept through the night from six weeks old, rarely had toddler tantrums, etc, etc. I didn’t realise that I was lucky, until I had my son, ten years later, who, especially at night, was a bit more of a challenge! However, I wouldn’t change a thing. My son, now nearly nine, has grown into a wonderfully intelligent, fun, thoughtful little man and I love him to bits. As all us mums will. That’s the point, isn’t it? We are all mums and they are all our babies, regardless of what they do or say. They will all go through phases at one time or another, and we will get angry, frustrated, whatever, but they will come out the other side and we will love them just the same. We will love them. It’s what we do. But, and here’s the rub, what happens when they are not little ones anymore?
I remember someone saying to me when my daughter was small, ‘It goes by so quickly, before you know it, she will be picking out college courses.’ Of course, I laughed. It sounded so ridiculous, as she grinned up at me, dribbling a little bit. I thought of that comment often, over the years, and others like it. ‘She won’t be a baby forever’, ‘enjoy it while it lasts’, but, it never felt that way to me. Each time she grew out of one developmental phase, she grew into another, even better one. Walking, talking, singing, telling jokes, she was such fun to be around, I never really felt I’d lost anything and it felt as if the whole world was ours to enjoy. I didn’t think I’d have any more children, so was extra-privileged to have another turn at being a mum. I think that may be why these thoughts crop up now, because, I know I won’t be having any more children, so every milestone feels a bit more final.
It hit me not long after my daughter turned eighteen. Like a steam train. This may sound crazy, and I am completely aware that it’s not the same thing, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I almost felt like I was grieving. For that little girl I used to know. Mad, right? I love my daughter with every breath in my body, she’s amazing and I’m so proud of how she’s turned out. She’s my best friend and I wouldn’t change a thing about her. But I miss that other life, the little girl with the crazy laugh and the little curls either side of her face. It all seems so far away, sometimes I feel like I want to go back and see her, just once. She seems like a completely separate entity to who my daughter is now. Is that crazy?
I wonder if, in a few years, I’ll feel the same about my son. Or, will I heed those warnings, make more of an effort to enjoy it all somehow? Would it really make a difference? I don’t think so. I suspect that, to some degree, most parents go through these feelings at one time or another and we just have to learn to cope with it. Be thankful for the great joy our children bring us, the wonderful people they have become, and hope to God we they give us plenty of grandchildren!
By Lucy Dorrington
The Parent Game