This kid spent the weekend at his friend's house.
Not just a night. Two nights. Two evenings. Two days.
Gosh, I missed him.
Not initially, he has overnights pretty frequently, so I'm used to one night away. But once that time period passed, my maternal alarm clock started blaring, "He should be home by now! Where is he?!" and it made me CRAZY.
He had a blast, swimming (you should see the sunburn), video games, toys, friends, movies, baseball, restaurants, and church. The first thing he said after returning home was, "Next time? This summer? I'm staying for THREE nights!"
No, "Oh Mom, I missed you!"
No, "I'm so glad to be home."
Nope. Nada. Just the promise that he is so outta here this summer.
And surprisingly, I wasn't stung by his lack of reciprocation. I just held him down and tickled and kissed him until I felt he had paid his penance for not missing us more. I continued to ask him "But BubTar...didn't you miiiiiiiiiss meeeeee?" throughout the evening, just to see him giggle and shake his head no. I know he was thinking "My mom is CRA-ZEE!" But it sure was fun to tease him.
Somewhere between tickles and teases, I realized something, this is the warm up. The tiny little bits we let go here and there, letting our children stretch their wings and learn how to be without us, letting them create their own worlds, choosing what they'll do, who they'll befriend, how they will behave. It is practice for both of us, warm up for the big stuff down the line. Overnights turn into weekends away that turn into weeks at camp that turn into leaving for college that turn into living on their own that turn into marriage, perhaps. We slowly give away our ownership of these little people, handing them the reins, just a bit at a time to let them feel what it is like to be in control, to be the one steering, so that when they finally do ride off into the sunset, it is second nature to wave a fond farewell, knowing they are prepared for what lies ahead.
At bedtime, despite protests that he SURELY did not miss me, he begged me for a little extra reading and a little extra cuddling, and I readily complied. As I snuggled up next to my baby turned big kid, I thought, some day I'll have to watch him ride away, but I sure am glad it isn't today.
How could you not miss him, I mean look at that face!
Sniff sniff... why do you do this to me? ;)
Love love love ths post. Our kids growing up and pulling away is like death by a million tiny cuts - never really excruiating just tiny pains that become part of life...
Too true. As I tell my new-mom friend, parenting is death by a thousand papercuts - a thousand little deaths of things we thought we wouldn't do as parents, a thousand holding backs of things we want to say or warn them about but know they have to learn, a thousand letting gos.
yes, I have one who is much older than my littler two. He likes to take off in the summer to camp in the woods with my mom and step-dad & is spending the whole weekend at my sisters in Boston for his birthday (for his birthday! b/c auntie is so cool.) I miss him and also not. He is nearly 9. Something about the way he comes back all confident and proud makes me not miss him - I'm so happy and proud to be his mother, to see him reach, swim, fly. And of course, he gives me lots of strength for coping with the littler two. At one time he was just as constantly dependent as they are now. But, it turns out they also will grow up, all in good time.
Stop growing up so fast, little ones!
But I'm glad he had fun...
Aww. Sweet guy. What a heartbreaker.
I sometimes find myself hold the reins too tightly. Thanks for the reminder to loosen up a bit.
yes, i guess it is only the beginning of the real breaking away.
my girl is planning a letter to bubtar this week!
It's a curse, really - I both want them to grow up desperately, and yet never want them to change. Ack.
Yep. Parenting means letting go, over and over again.
That's such a cute photo of him!
I love that he has so much fun with his friends and is able to be away from home like that. However, I can only imagine how much you start to miss him. My heart starts aching for Adam when I'm away from him for just a few hours!
He is growing up on you Kyla!
Nooooo...he didn't miss you AT all. Nor will he when he goes away for good.
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