When my parents come to visit my children, I can see how much they are in love with them. So much so that they wish that my children were theirs. My parents mention it a lot that they want to run away with my sons. It’s like my parents reminisce about the days that my sister and I were babies and wish that they had that again. Almost every time my parents visit, my father would say “Just wait until they get older and move out and abandon you. Talking about they want their independence.” I would say “But that’s what they suppose to do. They are supposed to be independent and move anyway. Do you think mama bird keep their babies? No, they kick them out of the nest and make them fly.” My father would respond, “We’re not birds, we’re human.” When I think of a person abandoning someone, it’s leaving that person behind. In my father’s mind, somehow we left him behind; like we made the ultimate betrayal by moving out and having lives of our own.
I had a sheltered childhood. My little sister and I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. If we did we were under very watchful eye of our parents and we were clocked in every move we made. We couldn’t go outside to play, go over a friends house to sleep over, or go to camp. We didn’t learn how to swim, bike, or roller skate. As I got older and the more overprotective my parents became, the more I wanted to escape. I couldn’t wait to leave home since it felt like I was missing the world because my parents were trying to protect me from the dangers of what “could” happen. I wanted to prove I could make it on my own without them. I understood that they didn’t wait my sister and me to get hurt or killed, but I felt with all that overprotecting, they hinder my growth as a person as far as being confident in how to navigate in the world. My parents let their fear parent their children. Now that I’m a mother, I have a different view in how to raising my sons.
I believe the purpose in life is to learn and us as parents shouldn’t let our fears hinder our children’s growth. What I wouldn’t do or isn’t right for me doesn’t mean it’s not right for my sons. As long it’s not life threatening or their not in any danger, my son’s should choose the path that’s best for them. My job is to teach my children to be good people, stand up for what they believe is right, to think for themselves, be confident in their decisions, and not be afraid to take risk.
I can understand the thought of “what if” something terrible “might” happen to my children comes into play. That fear creeps in sometimes and it makes it hard for me to let them go. But I also realize that I’m doing them a great disservice if I don’t let them explore and growth into healthy and mentally stable human beings. Yes, there are bad people but there are also good people as well. I would have to teach them who’s who and trust that they would ally themselves with the right people. I have a saying, “If a bird can not fly, he can not travel. If he can not travel, he can not learn. If he can’t learn, he is lost.”Sometimes we need to cut the cord and let our children go and grow. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
My job as their mother is to give them the tools to survive. I am there to be their guide when they can’t figure out a situation on their own. To be their helping hand when they need help. My children are not here for my life; I’m there for theirs. My children don’t own me anything. I hope that I do a good job raising them, supporting them, and loving them that in my old age they are willing to look out for me as I looked out for them. It’s not my children’s job to love me unconditionally or like me for that matter. I’m not here to be there friend or them to me. As harsh as it sounds, it’s the truth. I’m here to help them get to their greatness in life, whatever that may be safely and to make sure they are mentality, physically, social, and emotional ready to take on any obstacle, any challenge in this world when I’m no longer on this earth to guide them.
When my sons leave the nest, I won’t see them as leaving me or abandoning me. I will see that I have fulfilled my duty as their mother and be proud that I’ve done a great job in helping my children move to the next phase in their lives. I want to be confident that I did my best to prepare them for the world to survive. Everything else is out of my hands.