My son is getting older and it is so frustrating because I am having a hard time with the distance he's putting between us. I am beginning to understand how obsolete technology must feel. I know he doesn't mean to be mean but it still hurts just the same when he tells me he doesn't need me anymore.
I look at him and see a young man where a boy used to be. I wonder where all the time went and why I didn't hang on to every second of every moment with him. I was distracted at times by work, friends, TV, books, and the internet while he was growing up. I remember his baby years better than the last 5 years, his primary school years where friends grew more important than mom. I long for those wonderful years when I was the only person in his world.
Then I think about all the wonderful conversations we've had over the last year and all the in depth thoughts he has shared with me. Every year has brought something new something different as he grows into his own. I want to be with him sharing every minute of his life, but that is not alright. I need to let him go and be with friends, develop social circles of his own along with thoughts and beliefs that are his. Soon I will have to let him go to spend time with a special girl that is not me and that I know will be hardest of all.
It's hard not to feel less and less needed by my children. Sometimes I wonder if they really need me around at all, should I just leave and let them be? Sometimes I wonder if they love me anymore because they are so busy with their lives they forget me. That is the hardest part about letting out the apron strings, realizing that just because they aren't as close doesn't mean they don't need or love me less.
I know that my children still need me, just less than they did before, and I will have to find something else to fill that hole in myself. All those distractions that take my focus off my kids are what keep me sane and allow me to be there for them when they need me. The trick is to be able to turn off the distraction and focus on them.
This post was originally written in 2011 when my son was just turning 12 years old. He is now 20 and the years between were an attraction ride going from heaven to hell. He's now out on his own and every day without seeing him is like a knife slitting my heart in two.
Shannon Peel is an author, a marketing professional, a content creator, and a single middle aged woman trying to figure out life.