I've said it before and I'll say it again - along with millions of other women all over the world.
Being a mother is hard.
When babies are born, they depend on you for everything in their world. EVERYTHING. This absolute control over another being is thrust upon us in the blink of an eye. Or a cesarean, as it were. And then, little by little, we have to give up that control over our children. It's taken (or given) away sometimes in painful inches, until one day, they are real adult human beings, capable of living on their own.
I mean, that is the goal, right?
I know a lot of people - mothers - embrace the baby stage with an unequaled fervor. Don't get me wrong, I loved that stage. And the next. And the next. It's all good, but for the junior high years. I'm sorry, but there is nothing pretty about anyone (myself included) between the ages of 11 and 14. I would have been open to idea of skipping those years. Walk down the hallway of a junior high school before you disagree with me. The odor alone will knock you over. Hormones gone wild must smell.
Skipping over life's most unfortunate time period, gets us to high school. And college. And beyond.
My son, my oldest, accepted his first 'real job' this week, as a reporter for the Daily Freeman Journal. It's a little newspaper in the middle of the Iowa cornfields. It doesn't pay much, but it's good. It's part of a chain of newspapers, so who knows where it could lead. It's real world experience, and he is on his own.
This. THIS is what gets to me: My job as a mother has been terminated.
Oh sure, I'll hang on as a figurehead. Sort of like the retired guy that worked at a company for 20 years who shows up now and then, spewing talk of the old days and giving advice that falls on deaf ears. Or the person who receives and honorary degree from a college and gives an hour long speech at graduation. Yeah he is important, but you don't need him around and you certainly aren't going to listen to what he has to say.
It makes me sad that I'm no longer needed, but what makes me so happy - what thrills me more than when he was a baby - is that I like the man he has become.
He is what my daughter would call a "good guy" - an overall nice, intelligent, easy going guy, with no hidden agendas. He is very witty with just the right amount of sarcasm (a little known gene that was passed to our kids from both sides of the family). When he was a toddler, we thought he was a genius because he could name every dinosaur that ever walked the planet, and we pegged him for some sort of scientist. But journalism is his calling. I've read stuff he as written, and it's good. Really good. And I'm not just saying that because he's my kid. It's true! Stop rolling your eyes at me!
Sure he's got issues. No mother is perfect and we still refer to our first born as the "grand experiment". He will never let me forget that I got overly frustrated with him that he couldn't learn how to tie his shoes, and a friend had to teach him. My response to this over the years went from "it takes a village" to "tell it to your therapist."
I don't think you really appreciate the stage in your life when you're just starting out - fresh out of college, your whole life ahead of you, when all things are new and shiny and possible. You're too worried about finding a job and paying off student loans.
But a mother can sit back and know that everything will be OK. My only job now is to watch him leave the nest and soar.