Being a Mum

Yesterday was one of those typical days for parents of young female adults, or of teenage daughters. I cannot speak of Sons, as we do not have boys, but I suspect it is similar.
The eldest, who is now 22, had taken our car and driven to Switzerland. Her first such long drive alone. “Send me a text when you get there”, I told her, before I left the house yesterday. Her dad asked her the same thing before she left for the drive.
Did a text arrive? No it didn´t. Her phone was not switched on, and no text arrived. So of course I was concerned, so was my husband. I sent her friend who she was visiting a message via Facebook, as I had no phone number for her and she was not in the book – presumably she only has a mobile phone.
No answer within the 5 minutes that we worried parents tend to give, so then I started checking news reports for traffic pile ups, and even trying to call the mother of her friend in Switzerland, but she was not home.
Of course, in the end, the friend answered, and all was fine. My daughter apologised, she had just caught up with the fun of seeing her friend, and had forgot.
I knew she was okay of course really. I knew that if there had been an accident, we would have heard something, but nevertheless, it is part of being a mum, you worry. Even when they are adults.

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During this time, the younger of the two, who is 19, had gone to the city with a friend to watch a movie. She was not back by midnight, so of course I had to call, to see that she was okay. She was fine, on the bus, would be home soon. She expects me to call, and actually she often will send a short message of reassurance just to let me know not to wait up.

So it made me wonder, do we ever let go? When my eldest moves out in October, will I be calling her every two days to check she is okay? I hear of my friends “stalking” their kids via facebook, just to check that all is okay.

I had a virtual chat with my husbands niece while I was on facebook. She is 47 years old. She was complaining about her mum who is still interfering in her life, still trying to organise her life, talking about her to other relatives and friends. It drives her nuts. I fully understand. I know her mum, and I know where she gets this tendancy from – her own mum. My Mum was never like that I think, she did not really care once I had moved away, and anyway she was long dead before I was 47. I also will not be like that. For sure I will still care, because most Mums do. It is hard to cut the ties that bind us to the children we once bore and raised when they were little. My husbands sister presumably means well with her interfering, and I think part of it stems from a lack of other things in her life to occupy her. Part may be as her daughter says; she is shifting the attention to herself through her behaviour – oh poor me, my daughter has this or that issue.

I read another blog post this morning, in the freshly pressed section. It was written by a young woman, just 3 years married, who was complaining about people always asking them when they will have kids. She does not want children, but apparently people cannot accept that as a reason to not have them,
I am sure her parents are probably among the ones asking. My kids have already both informed me, that they do not want children later on. It is okay. I accept that, although it would be nice to have a grandchild or two, but I understand their reasons, and will not be asking them in the future about kids. I would never ask anybody about why they do not have kids – as the writer of the other post wrote, it is such a loaded question, there could be any number of reasons, and all of them are not really any of my business.
But that is not the point of me bringing this up. Let us go back to this young woman, being asked by friends and relatives about when she will have children. It reminds me of my dad all those years ago, who first of all asked me when I was going to do the decent thing and marry, instead of living with my now husband. Then once we did the ” decent” thing, after a while the questions started about when he would see grandchildren.
I guess he meant well, and to be honest, I never said I do not want children, I did, just in my own time. And maybe if i really had not wanted them for whatever reason, he would have accepted that. But I look back now and ask myself what would have happened if he had not kept asking when I was going to do the decent thing? Would I have waited for my husband to pop the question instead of popping it myself? If I had waited, would he ever have asked me? Maybe he would have, when we were about to move to Switzerland – as otherwise I would not have got a residency permit to join him.
Still not the best reason to get married, but neither is getting married to please the parents, or having kids to keep the parents quiet.

I hope when my daughters do move out, that I can keep a respectable distance. I want to be stilll involved in their lives, and for them to feel that they can confide in me or ask my advice, for what it is worth. But I will not be living my lives through theirs, and maybe that is the difference. We parents need to have enough stuff going on in our own lives, for our adult children to be able to move on without leaving a huge gap in it that cannot be closed. It is like any other part of our lives. No part should be so big that if it goes, the other parts are too small to allow us to be fulfilled.

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