Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Deborah Jones-norberto
Life can be so bittersweet for mothers. I don't think there is a moment during pregnancy or after birth when we are really, fully prepared for motherhood. We take our vitamins, we exercise (and eat ice cream), we read, we practice breathing and we prepare. We decorate the nurseries with whatever is in fashion at the time. We devote great attention to the "preparation" of birth. Then, miraculously, we do it. We squeeze out that child or endure a C-section...however it occurs. And then, through the years, we nurture, guide, teach, feed, clean-up after, hug, heal and fill our children.
Then we have teenagers.
I doubt anyone is prepared for these years if it's the first time around. I know I'm not. I've been deemed "the cool mom", but still feel as though I'm light years away from what my kids are feeling and dealing with. And then, when they make decisions that I may not be prepared for, I feel even farther away. I look into their eyes and see the major changes that have taken place and I grieve. I feel such a loss for the small child that I nursed and bandaged. The child I held during night terrors and watched eat food dipped in drinks. The little one I comforted when noises scared them, and sat with during anxious times of middle school finals. The child I let stay home from school "just because" and the one I listened to play their instrument. I spent years driving them to high school at the crack of dawn to savor their company a little longer. Then, I gave them away to the first love.
It is a difficult transition at best. I cry at my own growing pains. They are far more prepared for this than I am. I don't want to let go. It is too painful. I want to hold onto the little child and yet I know I can't. I shouldn't. That's it--I shouldn't. The growing lesson I must learn and continue to strive towards is letting go. They must know I trust them, trust myself and my parenting skills. I must let them fly, like birdsó-a phrase so overused and yet so appropriate. I must allow them to grow into adults and I must continue to grow as an adult. This is the way it is to be.
Deborah (Debbie) Jones-Norberto lives in the hamlet of Mohegan Lake, NY, some 45 minutes north of Manhattan. She is a pianist/organist by trade but has been writing down thoughts since early high school.
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