Monday, November 07, 2005

What is the hardest part of being mum2twelve?

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
I always leave my handprints
On the furniture and walls
But everyday I'm growing big
And soon I'll be very tall
Then all my little handprints
Will be so hard to recall
So here's a special gift
Just so that you can say
This is how my hands looked
When I placed them here today.

Right now I feel that the hardest part of being 'mum2twelve' is having children who have become young adults. They move away and leave... you... with a huge hole... in your heart!

And you miss them... a whole... bunch!

You miss them every day, but some days are more punctuated by their absence than others. When that happens I look around me at all the little faces and realize that I have so many more goodbyes to say in 8 years, 9 years, 10 years, 12 years, 14 years, 16 years, 18 years down the road. So I decide to read to someone, or have a little cuddle. I listen a little more carefully when someone tells me about a silly or scary dream they had last night. I look in their eyes and listen, really listen.

How quickly those first 23 years have gone with three children already having flown the nest. And it is not only hard on the parents, but also the younger siblings. Recently we have managed to arrange a few of our business trips so that we could pass by where Jenny is attending college and spend an hour or two with her. This Thursday I decided to accompany Hugo on his trip to Maryland to be company and available to drive if he needed a break after being on the road for several days over the past two weeks. We brought four children with us, one of them was 3 yr old Emma, who is Jenny’s god daughter. After a few hours on the road – Emma began to ask when we were going to Jenny’s house. She calls Jenny’s dorm ‘Jenny’s house’. No matter how much we tried to explain to her that we were not passing by Belmont and would not see her today she kept asking when would we see Jenny. Finally we called Jenny on her cell phone, and as soon as she got the message she called us back and had a long chat with her baby sister. We heard several “I wov you Denny! I mit you, Denny!”

I did not envy Jenny having to finally say Good bye.

Many of my days, and much of my time, is spent helping children deal with squabbles, changing diapers, nursing Elsa, making menus, tying shoes, explaining long division – again. And yet, all of this compared to dealing with children grown – out on their own, is a piece of cake. When they are grown – you are no longer there to catch them if they stumble, you can’t help them with their daily choices, chores and decisions. You can pray. You can call. You can hope they will call... but ultimately you have to let them go and trust that all you have taught the first 18 or 19 years of life is having an impact and keeping them on the straight and narrow. You pray that your prayers are keeping them safe when they are out alone at night driving home from work or on the bus traveling to work in the morning. And you miss them - a lot!

Yes – I think the hardest part of being 'mum2twelve' is saying goodbye.

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