I have this single most amazing little human being in my life. Of course I am biased, I happened to give birth to him. My son Wyatt is more than just the love of my life, he is the fuel to my fire, he’s the air that I breathe, he is the sparkle in my smile. And he had been all of those things to me since I felt him turning cartwheels in my tummy and stomping on my bladder with this baby feet. Ok, enough of the love fest, you know he also provides me with the most practice at extending my level of patience, and gives me a fair amount of opportunities to grow as the kind, loving, perfect parent I am. I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I’m typing this. All that being said, we are coming to the point in our relationship where he is starting to pull away. It’s all small stuff, nothing Earth shattering. But for this Mom, who has spent his life time being right there for every moment, it’s creating a bit of anxiety.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of keeping Wyatt for the weekend. (Our custody agreement has him with his Dad every weekend.) Any time I am fortunate enough to have weekend time with Wyatt, I try to make it as fun as possible, because it is so rare. Saturday I needed to get some shopping done at Target. It just so happens my son is also afflicted with the Target addiction, so we were both looking forward to the excursion. After we emptied out his piggy bank and headed to our local Coin Star machine, Wyatt was armed with $20 to spend. And the money was burning a whole in both his wallet, and pocket.
Upon entering the store I could see his excitement growing. He was very anxious to get to the toy section. So, anxious he rushed through picking out a pack back for school. Once we were ready to take on the toy section, he turned to me and said, “Ok, Mommy, I’m going to go look at toys. Where are you going to be?” Wait, what? Where was I going to be? Well, right there with him of course, right? I mean he wants me to look at toys with him right? He needs me right there with him, or does he? After standing there for what seemed like an hour, turning over what was happening in mind, I calmly pointed to a few isles of home decor, just next to the toy section where I would be. But standing there a few more seconds, I snapped back into hyper protective Mommy mode. “Don’t take to strangers. Stay in these three isles. If you need help look for someone in a red shirt with a name tag.” The whole time he’s giving me the foot tapping yeah, yeah, Mom look. But I needed to say it, not for his sake but for mine.
I find that as we move into this next phase of his development, so much of what I am afraid of is not that something will happen to him. Wyatt is a smart lively child, with a good head on his shoulders. He would know what to do if there were an issue. He’s also been drilled on every possible emergency scenario possible. So, he is very well equipped in that regard. If I am to be honest, what I’m afraid of the time when he doesn’t need ME anymore. I’m afraid of his independence! Why? I should be celebrating the fact that he so readily wants to try things for himself. This should be a victorious, high-fiving, champagne bottle popping time of celebration. He is seeking independence. But the Mommy in me is just a little sad. My little bird is starting to peak over the side of the nest. He’s beginning to try out his wings. But I’m just not ready for him to fly quite yet. Selfish, yup, 100%! And for right now, I’m okay with that. One day, one day I’ll be prepared for the natural course of things. One day I’ll see this from a big picture perspective. But for right now, I just want my little boy to want me around, to need me to fix things, and to kiss away the hurts. That’s why I’m here, right?
As I walked away from the toy section, so he wouldn’t see my tears welling up, I reflected that eventually this day had to come. I’ve always known it would. I just thought it wouldn’t be so easy for him, and so hard on me. I mean really what’s with kids wanting to grow up any way? To that I can only say, “What the pickles?”