He needs me. I can comfort him in a way that no one else can. With me he knows he is safe and loved. As soon as my child was born I knew these things to be true. When I first became a mother I felt a connection with my son that was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. Before I had children, I thought I understood the “parent-child” connection pretty well. After all I had clearly been someone’s child and knew what it was like to feel that comfort. Still, being the one that someone depends on for that feeling is different.
When my boys were little, sometimes the role of “mom” seemed overwhelming. Of course I LOVED being their mom. It’s a fun job! My boys and I have always been extremely close and enjoy hanging out together. (And with me being a stay-at-home mom, this has meant A LOT of time together over the years!) But sometimes being the center of their world can be exhausting -- after all, in addition to all the good stuff I got to share with them, I was also called upon for all the sickness, injuries, solving sibling rivalries, mending hurt feelings, and so on. It always amazed me how many things could be “fixed” with a hug or a kiss from me.
As my children have gotten older I’ve noticed the steps they’ve begun to take toward their independence. They are both teenagers now. When they’re SICK they usually fend for themselves - wanting to be careful to not get me sick too. They know where we keep the ice packs and band-aids and usually mend their own scrapes. When they argue with each other, my involvement in their disagreement is usually met with the back of the hand -- DON’T GET INVOLVED MOM. This is their problem and they can work it out themselves. Even hurt feelings tend to be “healed” with the wisdom of an understanding friend -- usually before I even discover there was a problem to begin with. They still know they are loved and certainly feel safe but I often wonder if they no longer NEED me to “hold their hand” on their life’s journey. Are the teen years the time when they start to let go?
Last night my oldest son came into my bedroom around two in the morning. I was in a fairly deep sleep but somehow heard him calling my name as he stood beside my bed. I rolled over and looked up at his sleepy eyes. “Everything okay?” I asked him, wondering why he was next to me. He told me he had just had a really bad dream. I told him that I was sorry to hear that and asked him if he wanted a hug. He did. I gave him a big hug, kissed him on the head, told him that he was safe, and loved, and didn’t need to worry about anything. I was RIGHT HERE. I told him that I’d leave my door open and then sent him back to bed. After he left the room, my husband (who inadvertently was awakened too) said he couldn’t believe he woke us up because of that. I told him that I was GLAD he did. He still NEEDS me after all. He hasn’t completely “let go” yet and I couldn’t be happier. I feel back asleep with a huge smile on my face.