Well, my house has now apparently moved into the next phase. My kids are now in their room more than in the living room. They are no longer clamoring around the adults, bringing their things out to the living room, playing and arguing and living loudly. Nope, we have now officially begun the ‘teenage phase’ and have left ‘small childhood phase’ behind. No more do they play the WII that they were so enamored of only 2 Christmas’ ago. They ignore the PS2, they don’t have ‘toys’. They have technology. They have smartphones and computers, and they have moved their living into their rooms. They no longer seek to see what I am doing, to try to copy me, to be near me. They no longer want to be around as a ‘family’. They don’t want to play any kind of games, including board games, the old staple for Friday night.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have been looking forward to this phase for a long time. And most of the time, I think I even enjoy this new quietness, this new ‘un-demanding-ness’. But there are some moments, some times, some nights, where it still feels lonely. Too quiet, too far away from them living. Every parent wants to see their child grow up into a person. But I think at the same time, there is a moment of morning for the children that they were, for the neediness they had, for their being present at every moment. And tho at times that was tiring and exhausting, it also meant you were needed, to give them guidance, tools for living, how to think and see the world, how to get dressed and eat. And now that that phase is over, and the ‘teenage phase’ begun, you begin to see who they are turning into with what you gave them. But you also see that they do not need you much anymore. They need you for the ‘unseen’ things. For reminders to shower, to clean their rooms, to do their homework and to eat the food that magically appears each night. But for their living of life, you are no longer central. You are becoming old, out of date, out of fashion. They have their new music, new social lives, girlfriends and boyfriends, and none of it has anything to do with you. And you are no longer invited to share their every sorrow, pain, joy and problem. You are now becoming an outsider to these once so intimate beings, who are now so alien.
It is with happiness and also a tinge of sadness, that I acknowledge this new phase. I miss my kids. I miss them coming to me with every thought in their head. I miss them living loudly in front of me, in my presence. But I love that they are growing into independent actual people. That they are confident and strong and moving through their lives on their own terms. But I have this great hulking emptiness, this great abyss yawing in front of me now. Who am I now, that my kids are nearly grown? Who will I be when they are gone? What purpose, what meaning, what reason for continuing on do I have? I feel I must hang onto what I have left of motherhood, because that is who I am–Mother. That is my life, my purpose, my being, my meaning, my reason for being. But what will I do when that gaping abyss reaches me?