Bittersweet Moments

My boy...always helping
My boy…always helping

Yesterday T11 asked if I minded if he didn’t dress up anymore.  He thought he had grown out of it and was only doing it for the girl’s sake. Was that okay?  My heart sank and I have to be honest, a sadness washed over me in that moment.  He is growing up and I don’t like it.

Then I thought about it some more.  T11 is maturing before my very eyes.  Each day he surprises me with his thoughtfulness and loving kindness.  He may not want to hold my hand in public anymore, and I am absolutely not allowed to give him a big sloppy kiss outside the confines of our home.  But I still know the joy of a son who wraps his arms around me whilst I am on the computer, gives me a quick hug, speaks words of love and is off, having shared a little piece of his heart.  I capture it in my hands and hold it close.

He now thinks for himself, is very definite about how he spends his spare time.  Almost daily he asks if he can help our older neighbours in their garden.  Often they come round to thank T11 for brushing and sweeping up leaves and picking up branches. He had just popped round, done it and told no one.  I love that he does not need recognition or praise.  The need to help is innate in his being just like his father.

He may not bring me squashed dandelions in his chubby little hands anymore, but instead he saves up his money that he earns and takes his Granny and I out for a latte.  He may not want to dress up, yet he begs to be in the kitchen more and more.  He loves to cook!

He is learning to be independent, learning that if he wants a productive future he must start his preparations now.  Yes, he still teases his sisters, but he hugs them and says sorry if the occasion necessitates.  He may sometimes be naughty but he has much more say over his punishment, which is always harsher than I would have set.

And we talk.  We talk about the future.  About things he might need to work on.  About things I might need to work on (he likes those types of talks!).  We talk about things that matter, not just to him, but that matter period.  Issues he reads about in the newspaper, or sees in his life.

His world is getting bigger all the time.  I am no longer the be all and end all of his life.  It is a bittersweet time.  Bitter because I WANT to hold onto time, to stop it slipping through my fingers, never to be had again.  Sweet because I am, yet again, seeing glimpses of the man he will become.   The thing is, to become an adult, he must inevitably leave childhood behind.  I am so very thankful for having had this short time with him, to pour into his life, everyday.

The header on my blog reads …’to give them roots to ground them and wings to help them fly’  T11 has grown his roots.  They run deep and secure.  He now starting to flap his wings, strengthening muscles, so one day he may fly.  It is my goal for him, but I thank God it happens almost imperceptibly, over years and not suddenly.  I couldn’t cope with suddenly.

15 comments

  1. oh I can so relate to this my DD is 11 and is just starting to pull away from me ever so gently. It is so hard for me too. But we can both know it is because we gave them the strength to fly:)

  2. Oh, I sure know how you feel and it is just as bad as each one does it. I am still sad that Sam doesn’t want me to take pictures of him any more. Katie indulges me from time to time simply because she is old enough now to come back around again. Now it seems like I only homeschool the two little boys! I know someday soon, only Quentin will want to dress up and have me take pictures. LOL I know how you feel, with the mixed feelings. {hugs}

  3. I completely understand! M, 12, is just reaching the independence that I had hoped and planned that she’d achieve – and now I am caught completely unprepared myself even though she’s handling it beautifully. Luckily, she and my 20 year old are still big huggers, so I get my fix from all 3!

    1. I know! Hugs are so important, I think, for everyone and probably most important for our tweens and teens. I love that T11 still likes to hug, just not in the middle of a shopping centre! I’m learning!

  4. As a grandmother who is “raising” 4 grandchildren ,I am going through this for a second generation. Believe me, it does not get any easier. My husband and I raised two daughters and the independence is certainly heart wrenching. Now, our oldest grandchild, a boy, is 14 and we began the process all over again a couple of years ago. I agree with you, Claire. Thank God that it is a gradual process. Independence for our children and grandchildren is a double-edged sword.
    Myra from Canada, where it is SPRING, finally.

  5. This is a very touching post, Claire, and I can feel your emotions through your words. I have a few more years to go before Tiger reaches that age of independence yet I still feel a sense of loss when I look at his photos from a few years ago. Children certainly grow up faster than we imagine. I’m also very grateful to be given the time to homeschool him so that I can spend the precious moments together. 🙂

    1. It’s about grabbing those moments with both hands, and not allowing time to meaninglessly pass us by. Soon the moments will become fewer and fewer. I’m busy storing away all my memories to fill all the inevitable time I have on my hands once they’re all grown up.
      I suppose there’s always those grandchildren you keep mentioning!! Think how many I could potentially have! I’ll be lucky if I get ANY time on my hands!!

  6. I think my constant talk of grandchildren must be a sign that I’m already missing those early years I had with Tiger. And yes, you’ll have your hands full AGAIN when your grandchildren arrive! 🙂

  7. You’re making me cry again Claire, but let me assure that every stage has it’s challenges and rewards as well as it’s sadness. God made us to cope with it all with His help, and I’ve found that as a parent it’s a great day when you discover your child is flying alongside you. xx

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