Thursday, 28 January 2010

21

It has been a celebratory week in the Boudoir. I am a Good Mother. I have successfully raised my offspring to adulthood, hale, hearty and whole.

There has been champagne, cake, balloons, cards, presents and parties. There has also been much reflection upon times past, the transition from 1989 to 2010, the differences between who we were then and the people we are now.

For the past 21 years I have been largely, sometimes wholly, focused on my daughter. She is the magnetic north to which my internal compass always swings. While I will always need to know that she is OK before I can be I know that the next 21 years will inevitably bring a distancing. She will have her own home, her own priorities, her own magnetic north. I will no longer know every little detail of her life from what she had for tea to whether she is still in the bath. This is right and natural and means I have done my job. I have not raised a social inadequate, hurrah!

I would be lying, though, if I said I didn't feel a nostalgic pang or two when I look at those gappy-toothed smiles in school photos past. When did this little girl become the confident, funny, beautiful young woman who strides through life in what looks suspiciously like my shoes? My work here is done. What next?

14 comments:

St Jude said...

A new kind of freedom. My 'little girl' finally flew the nest 13 months ago at the age of 24. There are new adventures to be had don't worry. And she will always need her mum. Trust me.. I'm a saint afterall.

Ro said...

You're quite right - it's a good thing when our offspring grow up and start to move away from us, independent adults who can (more or less) cope without us.

But I'd be lying if I claimed I didn't have those pangs of nostalgia, those occasional feelings of loss myself. I guess we've defined ourselves, in part, as parent and now we have to redefine that part of ourselves.

That, I guess, is both challenge and, potentially, a lot of fun :-)

ceeej said...

Well, I'd never have guessed.

I'm sure, as St Jude said, she'll always need her mum and I'm sure she's got a good sensible head too.

Congratulations to you both.

Helga Hansen said...

So far I've managed to get Son to 17 without accidentally killing him... result!

Congratulations on being a fab mother... now you'll move to friend, and then before you know it... grandmother! :D

Happy said...

You think it's over just because she's 21???

foolish foolish luka

it never stops!

Suzanne Portnoy said...

Mine just turned 18 & 16 and, as my son often reminds me, I have been completely undisciplined in their upbringing. The result, of course, is that they have turned out to be remarkably sensible and sensitive, with no inclination to rebel at all. They are far better people than I am. Very disappointing but there you go. As my dad likes to point out to me, only a couple more years to go and this whole parenting thing will be over.

Glasjay said...

You don't look old enough

Jackie Adshead said...

Congratulations, and I can see you're so proud of her as I bet she is of you. But she'll always need you around, if it's only to borrow your shoes once in a while.... :)

Luka said...

St Jude - If you can't trust a saint, who can you trust? I am quite sure you're right. In fact I am rather looking forward to some new adventures.

Ro - Yes, it's that internal readjustment from being on constant alert to monitoring from afar. It's a hard habit to break.

Ceeej - Thanks! She has her sendible moments but has inherited a great deal of silliness, which is why I enjoy her company so much.

Helga - Ah yes, one day I shall be a doting, dotty and debauched granny! That's going to be fun.

Happy - there speaks the voice of experience I'm guessing :)

Suzanne - I think a relaxed upbringing is the key to success myself. I know exactly what you mean, I often marvel at how much more sorted my daughter is than I am in so many ways.

Glasjay - the cheque's in the post!

Jackie - I am immensely proud of her, she's just great. I would say that of course, but she is. I am secretly pleased she takes my footwear, it reassures me I am still getting it right and have not fallen prey to comfy wide-fitting court shoes.

thepinkpoppet said...

I so very much know how you feel. My own kids are grown, married, have kids and families of their own and live many states away. The last one graduated college and left home many, many years ago. And although I was happy that they grew up well and made their way into the big bad world, I also was left feeling a bit of a loss, not at losing them, but at losing the day to day connection with them that gave me insight into their lives, their dreams and thoughts. This is how it should be, but nonetheless it is filled with a bit of sadness to know that my babies, my tip-toe running toddlers will never be here again.

Luka said...

The Pink Poppet - yes, it is the distancing - emotional and physical - which is the difficult part. How we rail against that total immersion in those early days and long for liberation, a half hour to ourselves, and then look back wistfully from the other end of the spectrum. What contrary creatures we are.

Glasjay said...

:)
I meant it you know

Luka said...

Glasjay - and for that I thank you :) x

Glasjay said...

S'alright