This post is an ode to my eldest son, Mason
A few years ago, I wrote a post about the "disappearing child" from social media. The premise being that as our kiddos get older, they aren't in our presence as often and/or they request not to have pictures of them posted. Thus, they slowly disappear from our social media accounts - a sad reality for all of us mamas. While I was able to recognize this evolution, I was still quite naïve about what other changes were coming.
Changing of the Guard
as in the Dunkin drive through the other day and it hit me out of nowhere - a memory of not too long ago when my car was packed with Mason's friends as we went through Dunkin ordering all the breakfast sandwiches they could manage. This will likely never happen again - they all have their driver's licenses now and I'm not sure what scenario would have me driving the crew around again, (maybe I will get the chance to be their DD someday, but even then, there is Uber now)! This little memory
made me unexpectedly sad - at that time, I was so tired of driving them around, because I have three other children so it would be a lot of mental gearing up to get everyone into their car seats and out the door for an unnecessary errand... but now that they don't need me to, I miss it! WTF, people! Around and around we go - it's hard when we are in it, but we miss it when it's gone. Our house was, and still is, a gathering place for these boys - which I love, except our grocery bills - but it's different now that they are all driving and many have part-time jobs. They just aren't around as much.
Why Can't I just be Happy?
Here's another fun little parenting fact for you who have yet to have your babies grow into teenagers - you will assess, calculate and reassess, rinse and repeat. It's a scary world out there these days and the access to ways to escape it are rampant in the teenage world. Thankfully for me, my son has a strong moral compass. Please note, I am in no way saying he is perfect and a shiny special star, because he certainly isn't fully formed just yet, but what he is, is balanced... and maybe a tad too serious - he doesn't care about the regular high school drama and/or keeping up with what everyone else is doing. Which is awesome, right? But... it also means he has never attended a dance, doesn't care about parties, football games, and the list goes on and on - so having no FOMO is refreshing, but typically teenagers have a lot of FOMO and work to be included in all of those things - which is why peer pressure is so successful... but that tactic doesn't work on my Mason. Cool, right? Well... yes, but I worry he is missing out on those things - why can't I just be happy? Overall, big sigh of relief that he isn't chasing a high - literally or figuratively and he knows what he likes and won't be swayed.
Existential Crisis Ending in an Epiphany
The other day I had a rough day emotionally. The school year is almost over - which it needs to be because I am exhausted trying to be on his ass for chemistry and algebra - but it dawned on me that this is his last regular summer - he graduates next year and then our predictable and comfortable pattern of life will be forever changed and I freaked out. We had an argument about something the night before and I realized that what I thought I was upset about was masking what was actually bothering me. I was taking it out on him, unfairly, that I am losing access to him. Once I realized this, I was like whoa, Mama - it was like I was my own therapist. Mason and I had a heart-to-heart and I cried (big crier over here, people), and I was able to explain how hard it is to hold on and simultaneously let go because these babies are merely ours on loan - they are meant to be launched - we aren't supposed to dig our claws in so deep that they can't make a move. I told myself long ago that I don't ever want to parent by guilt, I want to support and champion my kiddos to reach for the stars and follow their dreams - I don't want them to be riddled with the what about me - because while they are an extension of me, they are their own people and I need to trust that they will always carve out a little space for me - but I won't demand it - and I am so grateful this epiphany came to me now, before he has a serious girlfriend, and/or wants to move out of state, etc. I do not want to be "that mom" and compete for his attention.
Where we Meet in the Middle
This is a pickleball site, no? Well, here is where pickleball comes into the equation. There are roughly 3 things Mason likes to do with his mama bear these days:
Sitting on the couch and encourage her to stay up too late with him
Mason and I connect over pickleball - and I couldn't be more pleased. I secretly hope we can do a tournament together someday (soon!). He has even come with me to open play 3 times! I can't tell you how much this means to me. It feels a little sacred - something that unifies us. It felt magical the other day when we were working on his serve and he had the patience and drive to keep working on it over and over - if only he took my directions so well when it came to his homework, but I'll take what I can get. We will see where the next year takes us - as of right now, he wants to go to college - I told him playing pickleball will be a sure way to make instant friends wherever he goes - it's that unifier, commonality - a shared interest and I know he liked that - but I also know it to be true.
To my Disappearing Child
It has been my privilege to be your mama - I know you know I have your back and come to me when things get hard - and I hope you always feel that way, I got you. Give me a little grace, there will be more tears to come, letting go isn't easy, but it is what I need to do - you are meant to fly, baby bird! Love you to the moon and back! Now don't stay up too late, we have pickle in the morning!