Why does each new phase of growing up feel like a step further away from me?
Last night I witnessed another Teenage First, my 14 year old son Berry cooked us dinner!
He’s cooked before, muffins and brownies, usually under my watchful eye and ‘just for fun’. But last night was different. I was rushed and had to get his brother to soccer training, his Dad was home but working and so cooking was about dividing the labour of family life.
Someone needed to cook, and the only someone available was him!
Coming back after a cold night at soccer the house was warm with the smell of dinner. Berry had cooked his first family meal – Brown Lentil and Chorizo Soup with warm crusty French stick. Delicious.
Full Belly: Empty Heart
It was as I was clearing up that I realised that my pride in his achievements was tinged with a note of sadness, of loss, almost.
Where was this coming from?
Mulling this over as I packed the dish washer, I realised that feeding him had been my job from the first moment I held him in my arms, 14 years ago. And now we’d shifted gear again. He could do it without me.
Like so many other achievements throughout the years, he was growing into wonderful and heart-breaking independence.
They’re changing and growing away from us everyday. And it’s true that this, in itself, is a wonderful thing.
Catherine Naja The Grief in Growing Up
The Double Edged Sword of Independence
The move towards independence is inevitably a move away from dependence. It’s a spectrum along which all children are travelling, and one in which parents fluctuate between celebration and desperation.
I know that every step my children take towards independence is a good thing. But it’s a contradiction too; I’m nurturing the very thing that I’m dreading; the day they don’t need me any more!
It’s a battle at times, wanting to hold them tight and make time stand still. A wise friend was able to sum up her feelings as her boy grew to adulthood:
I’m so proud of the young man you’re becoming, but I really miss the little boy that you were.
And it’s true.
I really miss that little boy who thought I was his whole world, who would snuggle up on my lap for stories and sleep in my arms.
But I love the young man who wraps me in his arms, who cooks me dinner and asks how my day has been.
That young man is here right now, and that little boy is just a memory.
So I’m cherishing the young man, reflecting on who he was whilst anticipating all that he will become.
A New Chapter
Each stage of growing up is amazing, each new milestone brings different connections, exciting opportunities and new adventures.
Growing to independence signals the close of a chapter.
But like any good story, a new chapter begins, enthralling us in the same way the previous one did.