The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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He’s Still My Kid

on June 20, 2012

I woke up this morning to a new reality: I have been a mother for half of my life.  Today is our oldest child’s 21st birthday.  Ok…so technically I was almost 22 when he was born, but you get the drift.  The drift is I’m getting old. (Those of you with great math skills have already figured that out.)   More than that, I have officially raised a child to adulthood.  Twenty-one years ago I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.  Twenty one years ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Twenty one years ago I didn’t know how cool it was going to be to watch my son grow into a man I respect.  Twenty-one years ago I didn’t realize a lot of things that I know today.

I’ve often said that the reason there are so many references and blessings upon the “firstborn” in the Bible is because they are the ones who have to put up with the most.  At least that’s true in our house.  Our firstborn is the kid who had the rookie parents.  The parents who had no clue what they were doing and were too young and dumb to realize it.  He’s the kid on whom we practiced “experimental parenting.”  No – we didn’t hook him up to wires or do lab tests on him.  We simply tried out a dozen or so different “parenting theories” all in the name of being perfect parents.  Then we figured out that there is no such thing as perfect parents. I’m pretty sure he knew that all along, yet he was patient with us while we figured that out.  He now looks at his little brother, almost 11 years his junior, and says, “You would have NEVER let me do that.”  He’s right.  We wouldn’t have.  We’ve either gotten too old and tired to care or we’ve just figured out which stuff is important and which isn’t.  (I’d like to believe it’s the latter of the two.)   He doesn’t hold that against us, he just finds it funny.  Yes….this is why the firstborn gets a double portion.  It makes up for all the stuff we didn’t get right while he was growing up.  It’s a reward for teaching his parents how to be parents.

This is the kid who taught me so many lessons: ones he didn’t even know he was teaching.  He’s the one who taught me how to love someone more than I love myself. The one whose birth made me step back and start enjoying the little things: a smile, a giggle, quiet time, a hug.   He’s the kid whose hurts I discovered I couldn’t always fix. The one who showed me that sometimes you have to step back and let a kid figure things out for themselves.  This is the child who taught me that as badly as I wanted to control every aspect of his life, he was much better off if I didn’t.  He’s the one who made me admit I don’t have all the answers. The one who challenged me to change my thinking sometimes.  This is the kid who taught me that I can’t live vicariously through my children because it isn’t fair to them. I’ve rejoiced with him, wept with him, comforted him and been his biggest cheerleader.  That’s what a mom does.   He’s the one whose departure for college made me cry but helped me learn that there comes a time when you have to let them go. They have to grow up.  That’s the plan.

So today, on our oldest child’s 21st birthday, I found myself contemplating my new role in his life.  He’s an adult.  He really doesn’t need me much anymore.  That kind of makes me sad.  Then I recalled this past Sunday.  It was Father’s Day so he called his dad and talked to him for 15 minutes.  Then he talked to me for an hour and a half.  My husband grinned at me and said “Someone misses his mommy.”  Yes, he may be an adult and he may not “need” me but he still likes me.    It won’t matter how old he gets: I’m still his mom and he is still my kid.

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3 responses to “He’s Still My Kid

  1. momshieb says:

    Happy Birthday to your “Practice Baby” (as I call my oldest). I love the story of that phone call; they really do still “need” us, even when they are all grown up!

    • wedelmom says:

      Thank you! Yes – they do need still need us – it’s just a “different need”. (Heck – I still need my mom some days!!). “Practice Baby” – I might need to borrow that! 🙂

  2. wedelmom says:

    Reblogged this on The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle and commented:

    A year has passed since I published this post but the words are just as true today, Our son’s 22nd Birthday, as they were last year. Happy Birthday Firstborn – We Love You!

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