I am a mom. I love being a mom. I love mothering. I have always been a mom who has wanted to stay home with her kids. Although aching at times for adult conversation, I have never, ever ached to leave my kids with other caregivers. To escape into the work force. To miss out on the days with my boys.
When my boys attended school, I was the mom that drove every field trip. I walked them into class every morning, and picked them up after school every day. They acted disdainful, but I heard about it if I dared miss a day. Ever.
And then, in 2004, we began to homeschool. Together all day, every day. Lots of good, some difficulties. But overall, mostly, it was fun. We are closer in many ways because of it.
And that's all about to end.
Tuesday. September 2, 2008
The day my boys will walk out our front door and enter the halls of various schools. Entrusted to various teachers. Leaving my kitchen table. Leaving ME. 6 hours a day. Every day.
For four years we have been together. Schooling together. Learning together. Being together.
It's time. But its hard. Harder on me than on the boys.
I would like to say that the separation, the letting go, starts next Tuesday, but in reality this entire summer has been a long process of loosening my grip. Letting my boys experience life without me by their side.
There was "family camp". Family camp that really means the boys are off with their friends from dawn until long after dark and if we were lucky we saw them for meals. I actually missed them despite the fact we were in theory all camping together.
There was the Missouri trip. Letting Greg see I trusted him enough to make the sorts of decisions that are involved in meeting his other family. Reality was, for me, there was tearing and sharing involved in that process and it wasn't always easy.
Plus, to go to Missouri, I had to leave my other 3 boys at home. 12 days. The longest separation ever. I had to trust others to parent them. Trust that they would be ok. They were.
Shelby's accident. Kids left behind. Scattered. Shared. Not planned but necessary none the less.
Greg left for hockey camp. He was scouted. He is now noticed by people to whom it counts. Invited to play in front of college scouts in Vegas in the spring, Burnaby next May. Words like "drafted" and "junior hockey" discussed. He is 13.
Imagine if letting my 13 year old walk to school alone causes me to lie awake at night in dread what hearing those words does to me?
"You must be so proud, Greg could be playing in the Big City soon"
"How awesome for you, finally some free time"
No! No! No! I don't want my boys gone. I don't want school to start and daily separation to begin. I don't want to think about my future 15 year old choosing to move out to play a SPORT away from his family for 10 months of the year. I want my family here. I want to be a mom.
And I wonder ... is this because I am simply a mother? Or is this because I am an adoptive mother?
Greg and Eric weren't "mine" until they were 3 and 4. Its been 9 years this coming week since I first held my sons in my arms. I am not ready to let them go. I AM, slowly, and because its the right thing to do, but I do not FEEL ready.
Parenting the older adopted child is some days like parenting in fast forward. Life skips ahead at an alarming rate. Today you meet your child, tomorrow they are grown up. Independent.
You work on attachment with a pre-schooler and then have to let them go to kindergarten. They play their first soccer game and then want to reunite with their first family.
It feels like days, in reality its years. But not enough years for me.
I think there is a process to mothering. A slow, methodical process that allows moms (or at least moms like me!) to let go as their kids grow up. My heart, my mother heart of my boys, is 9 years old. But I am parenting a 12 and 13 year old.
On Tuesday, I will let them go with a smile and a hug.
"You will do great"
"This is so exciting for you"
"I am so proud of you"
Inside? Inside I will be aching for the days missed. For those baby cuddles I never had. For those toddler years shared with another mother. For the memory of a newborn smell I will never know and can't recapture. Coping with how the shock of their teenage independent selves wreaks havoc on my emotions.
My big, beautiful, amazing, mature boys will walk out the door. They will never know, never understand, how much it hurts to let them go.
I want a pause button on life.