There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Saturday, August 27, 2011

If I Could Turn Back Time

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.


  1. Oh Deborah...hugs to you. I am not at this stage yet but even with William, I do understand what you mean. He started at a Pre-school three mornings a week in August (Two years old, they start early here:) and I want him to grow up to be SO MUCH, you know? Loved and liked but strong and courageous and happy and faithful and and and...the list goes on and on.
    Even sometimes now when I look at him now, all stubby little legs and long curls, my heart breaks (and I do try very hard not to be overly sentimental) when I imagine all the things growing could entail for him. What if people don't like him? What is he is ever abused or bullied? What if he is left out by other children? Made fun of because his skin is dark? What if, what if, what if...
    And yet I know too that we all encounter opposition in some form, we all suffer at times...I know I can't really protect him from anything and as you say I WANT him to grow up independent and strong...but my heart...*sigh*

    Anyway, I have always loved that quote by the way, so beautiful.

  2. Sigh. My little man started the big K a few weeks ago and I already feel that pain.

    3 kids going off to school is such a testament to how wel they were raised. I hope we do as well.

    Beware the empty nest, it can seriously jack with your head.

    Hugs to you, I miss seeing you around.