So parenting is all about teaching our children how to be responsible, kind and independent little people, right? Guiding them on life’s journey, equipping them with the tools to make the right decisions, to lead a happy and fulfilling life, blah, blah, blah…
Well what happens when you succeed in that mission but when the times comes, you’re not actually ready to let go?
That’s what happened this weekend and it all started with three little words. Big Monkey ran off to the loo and I, habitually, followed him, ready to lurk inside the door, reminding him to lift the lid, watch where he’s pointing it and wash his hands. But before I even opened my mouth, he turned to me, looking all serious and grown up, and said “don’t look mummy…”.
Ouch – I have wiped this child’s rear end for the best part of three and a half years and suddenly I’m dismissed with three little words.
I know, I know, I should be rejoicing and high-fiving a successful shift towards independence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I want to keep wiping his bottom for the rest of my life…but this sudden need for a sense of privacy took me back and signalled a subtle shift in our mother/son relationship. Not only does he no longer need me to help him with those everyday tasks – he equally doesn’t want me to.
Having said that, ten minutes later he was running naked round the house without an ounce of self-awareness – exactly as it should be – and our “don’t look mummy” moment had passed. But for the first time I saw my son through slightly different eyes and as I watched him play, it was with a mixture of pride and a wistful sadness, as I acknowledged that my little boy is growing up. And like it or not, more “don’t look mummy” moments will be coming my way.