Monday, September 8, 2008
It's funny how God binds a mother to her child at birth and the literal umbical cord becomes symbolic of being tied to your mother's apron strings. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. The invisable bond between a mother and her newborn...impossible to break, and yet, as the newborn becomes a young adult, the child demands it's severing. Something that is nearly impossible for the mother, can be done quite easily by the child, with the clip clip of the scissors. My mother use to tell me that a mother loves her children, more than her children love her, and I don't think I really believed it, until I became a mother. I know that's the way God planned it. Mothers are suppose to raise their children to make them strong and independent so that they can leave their nest and make their own lives. But...it's so hard......when you're the mother!
I can still remember when my children were young enough to think I was awesome! They weren't embarrassed by me when their friends came around! They thought I could do anything! Just take it to mom...she could fix it. Tell mom...she'll know what to do! They'd look at me with their big, round eyes full of love and admiration, crawl on my lap, kiss my cheek, or hug my neck, and say I love you, mommy. Yes, that lasted about .....hhmmmm....maybe 3 hours! But, a mother's pride in her children, well, somehow that lasts longer! When I hovered around them during their teenage years, things changed. Their big, round eyes, full of love, suddenly became big, rolling eyes of annoyance. the hugs became shrugged away, and their I love you's became mumbled afterthoughts of "love you, too." Somehow, those apron strings had elastisized and were stretching to the point that if they weren't severed soon, they would become giant slingshots that catapulted them into the forbidden utopia of freedomland. And they seemed to sense this. They had freedomland in their sights and there was no turning back. Now they seemed driven by the idea that mom was losing her grip on them, and they couldn't wait for that day. Now don't get me wrong...they still needed me.....(for a car, for some money, for making unpleasant phone calls when cars broke down, and don't forget, they needed their clothes washed and their bellies fed). That started to be the hard part for me. I still treated them like my baby, but I kept telling them to grow up!!! Well, that's just what they are trying to do! But a mom goes from being everything, to not being needed in a few short years, and no one ever teaches her how to deal with that. And while they are trying desparately to cut the apron strings, mom's holding on to them for dear life. She's even trying to tie them up with them! Ha! This tiny baby that she fell in love with, bathed, fed, diapered, taught, trained, laughed with, cried with, hurt with, well...it needed her. But this college age child...well...they just didn't need her as much any more. I assume this is where a lot of midlife crisis begin.....the realization that you have lived fifty years of your life for your children and now your job is done....and you don't really know who you are, what's important to you, and what you're going to do to fill the time that you had reserved for them. It's a happy time for the child.....it's a hard time for the parent. My youngest sometimes wonders why I spend so much time and energy thinking about her love life, her relationships, and who or what she's involved with....I guess I can honestly say that I think my job as a mother will never be complete until I can turn her over to somebody else. She marries and they live happily ever after....and I'll know I did a good job. That's what I think..at least, that's what I tell her...