Our four kids mean the world to me, but as they get older, I find it hard to know where the line is. We’ve always been close and I want to stay that way, but of course they’re finding their own paths, and they don’t always want to share it with me.
I don’t expect them to tell me everything but it’s nice to feel involved a little. At the moment I seem to be putting my foot in it more and more often, saying the wrong thing or choosing my time badly. I do it with all of the teenagers, but especially with one in particular. I feel like I’m pushing him away and it’s the last thing I want to do.
It’s weird, because I don’t think I’m judgemental or pushy. I’m just interested and want them to know that. I’ve never told them not to go anywhere or do anything and yet it’s like my eldest just wants to keep it to himself. It’s hard not to be involved and yet I understand his need for freedom. He works hard and so he should be able to go out and enjoy himself. It’s good for him to let off steam. I suppose it’s hard for him too. I don’t know any of his friends now, and I don’t want to embarrass him, and I don’t want him (or them) to think I’m judging them, so I’m careful about the comments I make. In fact, I’m careful not to say anything if it’s too sweeping, or could be seen as offensive or ‘labelling’. That in itself seems to annoy him too and that’s a shame because it only comes from a good place, because I care about him.
When I was his age, I was married with a little one on the way, so I try to remind myself that, as he should be allowed the same freedom as I had. I just liked being a friend I suppose, as well as his mum, and I miss him sometimes. Even though he still lives with us, I don’t see him that much. Lockdown was nice in some respects because it meant that I had all the kids at home with me. I know I can’t keep them forever but sometimes it would be nice to freeze time for a little bit. They grow so fast and they won’t need me for much longer.
Last weekend we saw Lee’s mum and dad for the first time out of work since before the lockdown. We stayed in the garden and socially distanced of course, but I watched them talk to the kids I saw that it’s the same for them, and for my parents. Once we’d been young and the centre of our parents world and now, while we’re still important, we aren’t as dependent as we once were. Things move on and people grow. We can’t stay the same forever, so I’ll try to let them go as they grow, and hope that one day, they’ll come back to me.