Family life appears to stay the same, but actually when you do a year-on-year or even a month-on month-comparison, you see that change has taken place, almost unbeknownst to you. This is, I suppose most evident in photos; I look at my children today and think they are the epitome of themselves, they are what I know best. Yet I see photographs from only a few months back and see subtle changes to their appearance and demeanour. It may be that in particular my children have reached an era of change; they’re plunging headlong into growing up.
It is at once exciting and daunting. I am having to examine my reactions to them growing up. With their new schools has come increased independence and I see them, each day, stepping a little further away from me. I get the very distinct feeling that motherhood has reached a milestone. Of course my mother-work will never, ever be done, I just have to look at my Mum to see that, but what they need from me (or don’t need) is changing.
For my daughter especially, to some degree, I have become an observer rather than an influencer. I can advise but I can no longer dictate! I think about when they were really small and the utter reliance they had on me, how every thing they did/ate/said/thought was somehow derived from an action of mine.
|…mother and daughter…|
I observe my contemporaries (after all it is the mothers we compare ourselves to that are the acid test) and regard how they are reacting. Some are relishing the change. Some seem to be mourning the loss of what their children used to be. Some are regarding life differently; the advent of senior school a glimpse into the future, a sharpening up of those shadowy images of grown-up children. Dare I say the empty nest?! I know that empty nest is a long time off for us, but still its possibility has loomed into my mind in recent weeks.
My conclusion: change is all there is. The only choice for me is to try to simultaneously let them go and hold on to them, to squeeze out every last precious drop of childhood!