Monday, June 13, 2011

Giving Children Roots and Wings

It’s been a week since my son graduated and I’m finally able to write about it.   I cried so much at the ceremony that I made a scene.   I was fine until they called his name and then I lost it.
They called his full name, his given name the same one written on his hospital bassinet, and spoken together very rarely.   I only used all three of them when he was in real deep doo doo.   (It’s a mother’s trick, in the secret handbook you know.  You only use the middle name when they are in real trouble.)  But for some reason, hearing them all together and seeing him get his diploma broke me up.
The past 6 years as a single mom have been the hardest years of my life.   They’ve kicked me in the junk more than I ever imagined.  So, you’d think the idea of graduation would make me feel more relieved than distraught.  You’d think that.    Yet I bawled like a baby so much so I had to cover my face.   He’s a great kid and I know I couldn’t have made it through these years without him. 
My son, my ex and I pose for photos… all of us smiling, me through tears.   My ex as usual gets to show up, jump into the photos just the same as me.  He didn’t have to iron my son’s shirt or even buy it for that matter, didn’t have to help pick out the perfect tie or to dig out the dress shoes out of the closet.    He gets to show up with his girlfriend and pose in the pictures just the same as me.
I watched my son accept his diploma with a lot of pride and although this has been incredibly hard on me, I’ve raised him the past several years without a whole lot of help.  Dammit, I’m proud of that and I’m grateful I had the chance to be his mom.  I wouldn’t trade the toll it’s taken on me for the regret my ex will undoubtedly feel in the future.  I was there, I did a good job and made a boatload of sacrifices. 
Of course the natural reaction is to turn to my youngest son and baby him.  Yet, he’s starting to be Mr. Independent right this moment.   He wants to learn to cook his own lunch, for example.  There’s a natural urge I constantly fight to grab the box out of his hand, make it for him and keep him as my little boy.  But I can’t and I know it.   I didn’t say I liked it, I just know that I can’t do that.
It was a welcome treat through this independence phase when last night he had a nightmare and crawled into bed with me.   I think I needed it more than he did. 
The Single Mom

Good parents give their children roots and wings.  ~Jonas Salk


Jenniffer said...

Thanks singlemom for making me cry!!!!!! I could have done without that, lol... I watch my baby girl finish her first year of school last month.. She starts 1st grade in a few months.. I was able to fend off the tears for the most part, but barely. They grow so fast!
But then I read this and imagine my kids older, cooking for themselves, arguing over curfew, begging for the car.. omg.. I can't think about that right now. I'm content with presently mediating the battle of the sexes and taking away toys!! hahaha
Congratulations to your son!!!

bleu said...

Awww... your baby graduated! Congrats to him and WELL DONE to you. I can only imagine how you feel, a mixture of joy and happiness, but also longing for those little boy days. You are a great mom! Good job :)

singlemom said...

Jenniffer, thank you so much. Sorry to make you cry, but hopefully you squeeze your baby just a little tighter. I wanted to slap everyone who told me that they grow up so fast but it's true. Thanks for the comment! Smooches!

singlemom said...

Thanks, Bleu. I was a mixture of those emotions but overwhelmingly sad. We went to some graduation parties and I just sat there and watched my kids in disbelief. (lame) Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it so much!!! Smooches!

DavidRayDog said...

Congratulations to your son on his graduation and to you for raising such a fine young man. Although I don't have any children I know what a challenge it can be. I was one of 5 boys and know how hard my parents worked to get us through our youth (although I'm not sure we've all "grown up", myself included).
Misty smiles & smooches

singlemom said...

Thanks DRG, I appreciate that, you are a sweetheart... although I don't recommend growing up, from what I've seen it's a little overrated. Tingly smooches!