My third child is in the fifth grade this year. He informed me last night that he did not, under any circumstances want me to attend his winter party today. I have got to tell you, even though I know this is a normal attitude for an 11 year old to have, it stung like a bee.
My two older children, at ages 13 and 12, still think I am pretty cool to be around. My little one, who is nine, has yet to stop hugging me when he sees me at school. So, I was kind of thrown for a loop that this child felt so strongly about not wanting me intruding in his space.
I thought about what he said long and hard all evening. I flip flopped back and forth between going and staying home from the party. As, I went to bed, I had made the decision to go anyway. After all, this was his last Winter Party; I didn't want to miss it.
I changed my mind this morning when I woke up. I figured it was time to let him spread his wings a bit. I felt I needed to respect his wishes and let him have his party on his own terms. As a mom, it was heartbreaking. I really wanted to be there. After all, I had been at every field trip and party he had since he was in preschool; a fact he derisively heralded to me last night. However, I knew that he would be angry with me if I showed up. It would just be delaying the inevitable, too. I had to let him grow up some time.
In the end I stayed home and cried nostalgically about the baby he once was as I anticipated the man he would soon become. He is a great kid. I know that. He is going to be a remarkable man, I have no doubt about that. Unfortunately for us moms, we have to step aside sometimes and allow our kids to make their way down their own path. It stings, but it makes me proud at the same time.
When I picked him up from school he said the party was fun. He didn't mention one way or the other how he felt about my absence. I didn't ask. I have a feeling he was happy that I had given him some breathing room. Some day he will remember that I was around all the time because I cared deeply for him, but that I let him have his space when he needed it.
Man, this mothering gig is though!