Letting Grow

Yesterday, my son was born. Today he’s making me an apple cinnamon omelet. I spent 12 years encouraging his independence, and now I want to scream, “I’ll do it for you, just stay my baby.”

We used to cry together, each of us on one side of the nursery school door. Now he waltzes out to his friends without a backwards glance, a casual bye mom.

We used to make up songs jumping in the trampoline, but now he’s got his own beat, (plus I don’t know the words).

It is tough watching them grow, teaching them to need us less and less. Sometimes you break down and beg, literally, for them to spend time with you. Let’s play a game. But he’s almost a man now, and I am no longer his companion of choice, though his uncles are suddenly cool.

I used to make his eyes sparkle in wonder at a vial of magic water (colored water), or a bucketful of water balloons, but no longer. Now he beams at electronic wonders. He is no longer interested in magic water, though my omelet might arrive in a lovely turquoise shade. The child lingers in the man.

I resign myself to the fact that I must let him grow. He may no longer need me to do for him, but I am still his mom. My role has merely changed. Now I must work at being his friend. We toss a football, he leads me in a prayer, and I can play a mean game of ping pong. When he says, “I’m making myself some eggs,” I no longer say “Let me help you,” but rather “Make me one, too.”

Last night, as I was reading to my eight year old, he asked, “Hey mom, want to read me a quick bedtime story too?” Surprised, I said yes without hesitation. His eyes sparkled (once in a while I still get a glimpse) as he tossed me a 400 paged book. Without batting an eye, I opened at a random page and read a few paragraphs. He had expected me to scoff at him, but he didn’t stop me either.

Hey, I said let him grow, not push him out the door.

Hanan

Hanan is a mother of four who enjoys reading, writing, and thinking of new ways to challenge her kids.

  • Dalal

    Salaam Hanan, Thanks for such a heartfelt post. I think you eloquently captured the dilemma every mother faces. I’m also always interested in catching myself when my words/feelings conflict with my actions and you gave something to watch out for…I guess the next time my 2 yr old gets out of bed for the 20th time I’ll be a bit more understanding ;)

  • mountaineermama

    Hanan,

    You are my teacher. I have an 8 year old boy.I can understand your perspective. Thank you for preparing me. it’s hard to let go, but when the time is right, this becomes a part of good mothering. JAK for a very relevant post. Please keep writing.

    in gratitude,

    mm

  • Abdullah

    Salam Hanan,

    I am sure mothers and fathers alike encounter these feelings. It’s amazing how the change from teaching independence to trying to force our involvement at times seems so sudden, when in reality its a gradual shift. I like to view it as teaching them to understand their own preferences and capabilities more and more, as opposed to teaching them to need us less and less. The need for family varies at each stage in ones life, but it is always there. Be extra happy knowing that when things settle for all of your kids when they are grown, they will go out of their way to involve you in their lives…it’s only a matter of time.

    A wonderful post, one that hits the heart!

    Salam

    Abdullah

  • Fahema

    Hanan,

    A very beautiful piece that brought tears to my eyes. It’s a reality that a mother will go through in time.

    JAK

  • Maha

    Wonderful. We hear so much from mothers of young children–it is very enlightening to hear what it’s like parenting a few years down the road. We’ll all be there before we know it.

  • Maryama

    Hanan, As-Salaamu-Alaikum,

    I can so relate to this! My son is now 16, over 6 feet tall and as much as I wanted him to be independent, I long for the boy who needed me. There are times I look at him and see that little one he was and I smile. That’s just the time he looks at me and thinks I’m losing it since I’m just staring and smiling. I tell him one day insha’Allah, you’ll understand. He spends so much time hanging out with his best friend, watching movies on tv (or most likely it’s laptop), going to sports events at school and out to eat at the Muslim owned coffee house he discovered. I think once they hit 12, time speeds up, actually it begins to go faster once they hit 9. Right now I’m trying to enjoy every moment he allows me to feel like he still needs his mom. But I know that I wanted him to be independent and to be able to develop socially. I got what I asked for and I have to deal with it. This only makes me love the book “I’ll always love you” since it’s about a mothers love for her son from his birth through adulthood.


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