The summer that my first son started kindergarten I was with a friend who was also sending her first child off to school for the first time and she commented, “I hope I’ve done a good job as a mom.”
I laughed at the comment finding it strange. Her son was 5 years old, like mine. We had plenty of mothering left to do. But as she continued to talk, I understood her point. The first few years of our childrens’ lives are the only years that I, as their mother, have sole custody so to speak.
It is the only time that I am the main influence in their lives. As they enter school, they will encounter teachers, principals, coaches and friends. And they will have an influence on my children. So what my friend really was talking about was their foundation…so I considered that. Did I give my kids a good foundation?
I just dropped my third son off at college for the first time. I wish I could say it gets easier with each child but in a way it gets more difficult. I’m so grateful my kids are able to take advantage of the college experience. I’m grateful they have their drivers licenses, jobs, friends, and a certain amount of freedom because of those things.
But each time they walk out the door, each time I say goodbye to them, I feel just the tiniest bit sad. Because in my head, I want my kids to be strong, independent, self-sufficient people, but in my heart I want them to be 4 years old again.
Does anyone but a mother really appreciate the words of Elizabeth Stone? “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walk around outside of your body.”
Today I feel the weight of those words. And while outwardly I wouldn’t have it any other way for I want my children to spread their wings and fly, inwardly I wish they were mine…all mine.