Once upon a time, when I had decided I did not want to become a mother and I would tell close friends and family about this decision I would get a whole range of responses back. I remember one friend saying to me “But what about when you are older, who will visit you and look after you?”
Now this wasn’t this worst comment I heard during this period (I’ll save some of the best ones for another post!) but it was probably the one that made me the most angry. Is this truly why people had children – to care for and simper over them in their old age?? To be by their side no matter what – to comfort, protect and entertain them? To live their lives for their parents??And yet I was the one being called selfish for deciding not to have a child – go figure!!
Don’t get me wrong – I truly hope that my Sweet Pea decides she does want to hang around with me for at least some of the time when I am old and fragile (even older and more fragile than I am now!) but that’s not why I gave birth to her.
I gave birth to my little girl knowing full well that she is mine to raise and nurture, to comfort and protect, to guide and assist – into being her own person. A person who has the right to make decisions for and about her life without worrying if those decisions align with what I would want – or need.
And that knowledge kills me.
That one day this little person, who I adore and love beyond belief, might want to fly away and experience a different world, a different life. Away from me.
But that’s being a mum.
This week Sweet Pea brought home a mothers day gift for me that she had made at day care. It’s a tiny little hand print of hers with a poem attached which reads:
Someday I will be big, and gone upon my way,
But here is my little handprint, to remind you of this day.
And that “someday” feels really close. I look at her now and see the little girl she is becoming, and I know that I will blink my eyes one day and see a young woman – deciding her own choices, thinking her own thoughts, making her own way.
And it will break my heart.
But it will also be the greatest day of my parenting life.