I wish I could go back. I wish I still had control. I wish I was still in charge. I wish I was still needed. I wish my opinion still mattered, or at the very least, they acted like it still did. These are the chants of all parents I suppose. Or maybe just the mantras of lonesome mothers who have lived vicariously through the lives of their children for as long as they can remember. Circled the bases, played the drums in his first school concert, busted into the end zone, hit the ball off of the tee, wrote his first book, gave his Valedictorian speech, and had his first heartbreak.
My children, my boys, my men; are twenty-eight and nineteen years old. I wasn't ready when the oldest one told me he no longer needed me, and I’m sure not ready now to hear it from the youngest. It doesn't make sense that he should already be making all of his own decisions and planning his own life without me giving instructions or directions about the best way to do it. It seems unreal that he could care less if I would do something this way or that, and quite frankly it stuns me that he believes I still know nothing.
It was so much easier when I picked out their clothes, their shoes; aka their little boy sandals because they weren't old enough to know they were supposed to hate them. Took them where they needed to be, on my schedule, not theirs. Cooked and fed them their meals at regular eating times, not like an all-night diner; or sending text messages having to ask are they eating at home tonight, or more accurately, will we even see you tonight before we go to bed. Told them what I expected from them, not wondering what, if anything, they still needed or expected from me.
I can no longer remember the age that I had to reach to realize that my parents were not idiots; that they were not born in a time that had issues so different from my own, and that yes; about so many things, they had been right all along. I can tell you right now, with the resistance that I seem to be encountering these days, it will be many a more day that will pass before I hear the words; “Mom, you were right, I wish I had listened”.
And that’s okay, I don’t need to be right, I just want to be needed. I want my words to count for something, not be dismissed with the roll of an eye or the swiftness it takes to swat an annoying fly. I want to be respected for if nothing else, that by golly, I got them this far! I brought them all the way to this point, don’t I get any credit for at least that?
It won’t be much longer before my last one is gone. Maybe this is just empty nest syndrome creeping in early; maybe not.