“If I could give you just two things, one would be roots, the other, wings.”
It seems like just yesterday my children were babies, toddlers and preschoolers who needed me to comfort them and be their playmate. But now they’re young adults, teenagers, and I’m sad because it feels like they’re outgrowing me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that they’re independent and confident, that they feel loved and accepted, but if I could go back in time, I would cherish each minute I spent cuddling, bathing, reading books and spending more individual time with each of them.
I wish I had cuddled with Jared more at bedtime when he had asked me to, that I had played checkers with Jansen more and read more to Gabrielle. But when I put my kids to bed at night all I wanted to do was unwind. I wish I would’ve slowed down with them, just took a breath and allowed myself to be still in the moment when they were snuggled on my lap and not so caught up in my own personal stressors. My hope is, in spite of my regrets, that my children have felt nurtured , loved and cherished.
Gabrielle, who turns 22 in May, will be leaving high school in May, too. My husband and I are currently searching for adult day programs for her. It seems like just yesterday she wanted nothing more than to sit in my lap and read books, but now she wants to go all the time, be out with her friends, live her own life.
Her brothers are just as busy as she is. Jared, once a pudgy, wide-eyed curious little boy is now a caring young man ready to embark on adulthood. He’s headed to college next fall, and at the start of this year’s football season a video of he and his teammates as toddlers growing into young men made me realize I’ll never see him in this element again. I won’t connect with the other families whose sons have been playing football, soccer and baseball with him all throughout school.
And Jansen, my youngest at 13, has his first “girlfriend.” They’ve gone on dates to the movies or bowling. No longer am I the only woman in his life.
Although my children have outgrown me as mom the chauffeur and cook, being their mother now means new, different-but-good things. Our relationship has changed, but our feelings for each other haven’t. My prayer is I have given each of my children a strong foundation, that they have strong roots and broad wings to support them in being the best human beings they can be and to make a positive difference in this world.