I’m having a few little ‘moments’ these days with my parenting journey and thought I’d share them here. They relate to my eldest son, who is 16.5 years. Now I really needed to add the ‘.5’ bit because that’s what’s freaking me out. He’s 6 months away from being able to get his driver’s licence and he has clocked up a LOT of driving so I’m pretty sure come late December/January he’ll be driving AND without adult supervision.
Now he’s a responsible lad. So while I have the same worries that any parent would have about a new driver, I have to admit I don’t really worry about him being a ‘dick’ on the road. We’re lucky like that. He’s naturally pretty sensible (but still lots of fun) and that’s only been reinforced by his commitment to AirForce Cadets.
But the reason I’m freaking is that he’s missed the last couple of family holidays because he’s had cadet flying camps. Now I’m supporting him in this because this is also the career he wants. But I am not so cool with having him ‘missing’ from these holidays.
We’ve had some camping trips over the past 12 months that he’s missed because he’s been on flying camps. And what I’ve found is that there are moments when it hits me. When I notice he’s missing. And I immediately think about 18 months’ time … when he’s finished year 12. He hopes to get into ADFA. Yep. That means living in Canberra.
Again, I will support him to pursue what he loves. But fark. I am NOT going to be a happy camper that my 6ft 1” ‘baby’ isn’t living with us anymore. Even my folks who have clearly had their kids (me and my sister) leave home a LONG time ago tell me they’re already feeling sad about it!
Now I feel it’s important to add that this kid is from my first marriage. So he’s been doing the every 2nd weekend gig and half the school holidays gig with Dad since he was a little fellow. And so that means I am also very used to him NOT being with me. If you are a mum who HASN’T yet had a night away from your children (either them being away or you) you probably cannot fathom this. Well … I had no option but to get over it when he was about 2.5 years old.
And to be honest, not that I’d recommend the circumstances that made it that way, being able to ‘separate’ from me AND me being able to separate from him has been a great thing for both of us. He is loved and supported in both worlds. He’s a very secure kid and was as a littlie too despite this 2-house gig. (I did a shit load of ‘stuff’ to make it that way which I may write about some time).
But this whole not coming on family holiday thing is REALLY and painfully giving me a taste of life once he’s all grown up! I know it’s a stage of life and a gazillion mothers have done it before me and survived. But as I work with so many mums who bring their babies to session as young as 4/5 weeks, I can’t help but feel a pang that I’m at this stage of life. I don’t quite feel ready for it.
And when I have my moments, and my husband spots it a mile away and gives me a cuddle, I remind myself that I wasn’t really ‘ready’ when he first arrived and yet somehow that’s turned out okay. So yes, I’m sad – 18 months in advance. But I do actually have a fair bit of faith that he AND I will be okay when we get to that stage. Doesn’t mean there won’t be some tears from me though!