It doesn’t matter if your kids love you, it’s not their job. It’s your job to love them.
Preface- I don’t really care what your personal opinions of me are, whether you think I am unhappy, cynical, pessimistic, negative or fucked up. This is MY interpretation of what this week means to me. Is it selfish, probably, but this is about ME after all, so why wouldn’t it be. This is a mother’s perspective. Take it with a grain of salt and for what it’s worth. Simple
It took me 2 hours to write this post, and 24 hrs to edit it due to the uncontrollable sobbing. This week marks one of the saddest events in my life. Why? How is this possible? Did someone die? Found out I’m sick? Did I lose something important? No, way bigger than any of those.
This Friday, my first born daughter Maddy graduates High School. Then in September, she also turns 18 years old. This is truly one of the most gut-wrenching moments of my life. For so many reasons.
Everyone throws parties, everyone eats cake, everyone brags about where their child will be going to college. It’s a time of joy and celebration. Yet all I want to do is sit in a corner on the floor and cry nonstop.
For those of us that have children, there is truly no greater joy or love possible. Sadly no one without children can understand this. You literally grow a human being inside of you. I honestly think pregnancy and motherhood is one of the single most underappreciated or understood concepts in the world. We make other humans! We are the only people in the world that can do that. What power. When your baby is born, it literally takes your breath away. And from that day forward you spend every single moment trying to take care of them. Teach them, guide them, protect them, help them, be there for them, and worry about them. Constantly.
Really it’s kind of shitty job. It’s very one-sided. Consisting of mostly pouring everything you have into making this person as independent as you can so they can go on to move out, get married have children of their own and do what you just spent your parenting life preparing them for. Then you’re left just watching. Waiting for a text or a phone call to say hi, or maybe grab lunch or have a family dinner. Then hope they have time to visit you in your nursing home a few times a year. ( grim, perhaps… the truth… abso-fuckinglutely. )
Now, I know this may seem a bit dramatic. But is it really? It’s what I did to my parents. I couldn’t wait to leave, move out, start my own life. Not in a bad way, I wasn’t abused, I didn’t have a shitty childhood, and at the time my family was quite cohesive, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, Shabbat every Friday night at Bubby and Zeidi’s. It wasn’t until I became a real adult that the reality was very different. The family of people that I grew up surrounded by, turned out to be a bunch of adults, all with very different ideas of love, different agendas, different children, different personalities and all independent of each other. Now most of us don’t speak to one another. Sad but true. I was always in a rush to grow up, start my family. I wanted to have kids young so I could be young parent and have as much time as possible with my kids. Be able to see their kids. Be with them as long as I could. But now I see that all we really have are the years that our kids let us have. When it is time for them to start their families, careers, adventures, and lives, they WILL.
This is ultimately the goal. Isn’t it? Well, I will tell you that it is the worst feeling in the world.
Am I proud, fuck yeah. Is she amazing? Fuck yeah. Is she smart, funny beautiful, powerful, She is everything you could possibly want your daughter to be and more. And, with all of that I have to let her go. Go into the world without me. Go meet a man, and pray he doesn’t hurt her, even though he will. Hope that she has a great life, with whatever her version of happiness and success is. Watch her struggles from outside. She has to do this. It’s everything I have worked towards for 18 years. I did my best, even though I made too many mistakes to even recount, I did good.
While I may be a little ahead of myself here, she is NOT moving out just yet, and she still comes home to me most nights J Its coming. The reality is looming over me like a huge storm cloud just waiting to crack and explode on top of me. It’s truly awful.
I will be here for her anywhere, anytime, any way I can forever. Even though the fear of her not using that lifeline very often kills me. It is all in her hands. There is nothing I can do. Nothing.
It truly is a cliché, but it goes by so fast it hurts. There’s not much you can do to slow it down, all you can do is try to enjoy as much of it as you can. That’s all.
Despite all this sadness, fear of loneliness, and despair, I am truly as proud and grateful as any mother can be. I support her every move. In an effort to make sure she doesn’t rush into her life like I did, I advised Maddy to take a year off. No need to rush into or even go to college. She has been in the schooling system since the age of 3. I told her to take a year to be a kid. She is lucky enough to not NEED to work if she doesn’t want to, even though she does want to. She is lucky enough to live in one of the most incredible beautiful places on earth in my opinion. Be free! Surf, or don’t. Sleep in, or don’t. Eat pancakes and donuts, or don’t . Because once you put your foot in the door , you are diving head first into the rest of your life.
I love you so much Maddy I can’t breathe. I need you to know that and understand that. Maybe one day when you are 43, and your daughter or son turns 18 you will. I know I do now.