I think it’s true when they say that as mothers we spend our lives teaching our children how to become independent, yet when they grow up, we long for them to want to spend time with us. I know when my daughter first learned to walk, I sat down and cried. “My little girl doesn’t need me anymore.” Then when my son went off to kindergarten, I wondered, “What do I do now?”
Life as a mother is a constant evolution of change and growth as our children move into adulthood. I think that all the changes are perhaps even more traumatic for the parent than they are for the child. As a mother of two grown children I am now getting a front row seat into what that’s all about.
In today’s world, both young men and women have the opportunity for higher education. It is therefore, no great surprise when your child ends up living and working in another city, perhaps even in another province, state, or even country. When this happens it makes it extremely difficult to spend time with your off-spring. Sure you may get to visit once a year if you’re lucky and if you have the money. Then there is the additional problem of whether or not your child can afford to come and visit you as often as you’d like. Perhaps they have school debts to pay off or a mortgage on a house to deal with. It may be some time before they have enough money to visit you.
Then suppose your son or daughter meets someone in their city of choice. And what if they have children of their own? Grandchildren to love and spoil. But wait. How are you going to be part of that child’s life if they live so far away? You might see them from time to time, but you’d miss so much of your grandchild’s life. Then what if the Mother-in-law gets to spend more time with your grandchild than you do? It can be heartbreaking.
Even if your child lives in the same town or city as you do, it’s not always possible to get together. Now they have to make sure they make time for the in-laws, or parents of the significant other. The unfortunate reality is, you may have to give up treasured time with your kids and grandchildren. On top of all of this you may have to listen while others talk about the time they spent with their grandchildren because they live close by. And it hurts because you want the same for yourself. Being part of your grandchild’s life is an opportunity carry your legacy into a new generation and know that a part of you will carry on after you are gone.
I’m seeing this happen even now as children of my own friends move on to new lives. Lives that you helped to make possible with your love, support, and yes, money for that expensive education. You’re happy for them, deliriously so. And yet, you still long to be part of their lives. To be remembered with a call, a card, a visit. Small reminders that we matter, that we are still loved.
I know my turn will come when my children will have to divide their time between parents and in-laws, or significant others. I hope I won’t make my kids feel guilty when they can’t come home for special occasions. Although I may cry a few tears while my husband holds me in his arms, when it’s all said and done I hope that I will eventually try to look for new ways to celebrate those special holidays. I suspect there will be other of my friends in the same boat. When this happens I’m hoping to create of new tradition of sharing those all so special holidays with my friends and their spouses. In fact, this Mother’s Day my friends and I are having a Mother’s Day Brunch to celebrate each other, and remind ourselves that we’re not alone as we remember this special day without our children.