The Motherhood Manual: Somebody needs to push me down

Here’s S saying goodbye to the dog. I already miss him… the kid, not the dog.
S left this morning for Outdoor Science School. It’s a really cool four day camp that the sixth graders each year get to experience. This year they will be on the coast about a state away. I started missing him before he even left.

This is ironic to me, because when S was little, I would crave this kind of space from him… thus was born kid swap! I loved the freedom it gave me for three short hours to be kid free. I always felt a little guilty though, because S never let me go easily. Ever. Anywhere. Now that seems to be reversed.

As I am sitting here feeling the loss of him for a few days, I think about how I had to be tough to get away from him for kid swap. He would cling to my leg and cry. I would dislodge him and tell him goodbye but he would immediately grab hold again. I’d once again pry his little arms off my leg and try to get him engaged in some fun activity or with a new toy at the friend’s house. As soon as I stood up to leave though, he’d appear again, attached to me. Eventually what I resorted to was prying him off, then quickly and softly pushing him to a sitting position so I could get a head start out the door. This was hard for me to do, but I knew that he was in capable hands with my friends and would thoroughly enjoy himself playing with the other kids as soon as I was out of sight.

Today I’m the one who needs to be pushed down. I know I’ll be fine soon. I know he will have a wonderful time. It’s just hard to let him go. Somebody needs to pry my arms off, so I can let him leave and be okay during our little break from each other.

Parenting sucks.

10 thoughts on “The Motherhood Manual: Somebody needs to push me down

  1. A Kid Swap is brilliant! My little one has recently hit separation-anxiety central, and I feel like I don’t even get to pee anymore without someone clinging to me or crying for me. I could use a few hours’ break! I’m sure that I’ll miss it when it’s over, though.

  2. Your post this morning made me ache, too. The part that parenting manuals never warn you about is that as you’re teaching your children all these wonderful skills for independence, you’re setting yourself up for loss. Helping your children grow up and leave you is the most bittersweet experience I know. Yes, parenting sucks!

  3. Hmm- as I remember, there wasn’t so much of a push down, but a total hand off, quick run to the car before he notices. πŸ™‚
    And he always did fine once you left!!
    It is always the leaving that is hard. I still get teary on the first day of school each year, thinking that maybe this year I won’t be affected. Can’t believe how grown up they all are!! College will be here before we know it, then we will really have to be there for support for each other!!

    • Ughhhh. That will be so hard. I’m thinking I need to have big plans for changes for me those years so I’m preoccupied with my new whatever. That way I’ll be less likely to be stalking my kids in college!

  4. Youth retreats, summer camps, missions trips were okay for me because I knew all the details and that they wouldn’t be alone. When our middle daughter left for Germany for a discipleship training course with YWAM FOR 7 MONTHS right after graduation, I was sunk. See, they thought she was an adult, could travel the world (alone) just because she reached the magic age of 18 one month earlier–SO NOT! Germany, Egypt, England, Nepal, over seven months and no details for mom and dad to feel secure in — that was tough. One tightly gripped finger at a time, I let go. She may not have left as an adult, but she certainly returned as one.
    These times of separation are so important to their emotional growth and maturity (and ours). I feel your pain, but I can also read between the lines how proud you are of your son. Hang in there, mom. πŸ™‚

    • Wow, that would’ve hard! I think part of what I struggled with was that he needed me so much as a little kid. There are motherhood posts to come about how exclusively he felt it had to be me… I think for this trip I worried that he would need me and I wouldn’t be there. As it was, he did great and said they were so busy he didn’t even really get a chance to miss us. He was apologetic when he told us that, but it made me feel so much better about his ability to be okay without me. I knew he would be, but was afraid of him hurting in the process. I’m glad he did great… and so did I after a bit!

      • I know exactly what you mean…Kayla was the one who would panic if I turned the corner in the grocery aisle and she couldn’t see me and by the time she was 16 and driving would call me if she missed her turn going to an unfamiliar place (again, panicked). Knowing that she had to navigate two airports and train stations, with bags and foreign currency/signs, all by herself nearly did me in. Didn’t matter that it was the middle of the night here while she traveled, I prayed all night long. I too worried she would need me and I wouldn’t be there to help her process through the problem or fearfulness. It was during that time I truly let her go, relinquished totally to God, and she held on to Him totally, for good. Hard, but so good, but so hard. That was definitely a season of worn out knees on my jeans.
        I am so glad to hear your son is so close to you relationally, that is a great gift. I’m glad he did great too … one step closer to wearing his man-suit, my friend would say. πŸ˜‰

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