He’s leaving me and it’s about time

Note. I have called this piece this to remind myself of the truth of it. It is about time, SKJ is not a baby anymore, he’s not even a little boy. He’ll be thirteen in four short months and it is correct that he is leaving me. The separation has begun. Say it again you sad, sad, mother, it is correct that he is leaving me.

When I woke Stephen King Junior yesterday morning something felt different. Hard to pick what it was in our twenty-second interaction, but I felt that he was growing away from me. Roughly the same as the day before’s wake up; open blind, soft voice, tousle hair, he slipped a hand out from under the covers and I held it.

Still I walked away feeling, here it comes.

Perhaps it began last week when I dropped him off at school. Though he was as happy and he usually is to go to school (read; not that happy) he didn’t linger like he normally does. Off he went and I waved goodbye belatedly.

Back in my needy, clutchy, paranoid days – this time last year, this time last month – I would have been upset. I like to think today that I’m not upset, it is more that this change has not escaped me.

It’s a mother’s job to love their kids it’s not their job to love you back. I read that recently. Make it their bloody job, then! Buy actually, I believe it and when signs of separation come it’s best to remember it.

Love, affection, pride, respect, they are all fringe benefits and if you get them, as a parent, good on you. But don’t live and die by expectation.

I hope I’ve got across how much I love and don’t love this concept. The raw and urgent side of me wants all that love and respect from my children to be automatic, after all, it was for me. Somebody bunged my kids into my arms and love happened. But my more-cerebral, patient side appreciates that my children’s respect isn’t a given. I should have to ‘work’ for their love. I should prove, over and over, that I’m worth going out on a loving-limb for.

When did Stephen King Junior stop holding my hand every time we walked up the stairs? I didn’t even notice. We started racing each other up the stairs instead. I’ll do anything to win but dragging him back with a finger hooked in the neck of his jumper isn’t the same as holding his hand.

I’m not ready.

He hasn’t been mine long enough.

Don’t go yet, babe of mine.

It’s my job to let him go.

It’s his intent, whether he knows it or not, to separate.

SKJ’s intellect is raging, his vocabulary is enlarging at speed, and yesterday coming home from school he was able to open the front gate for the first time. That’s a long, high, reach and he did it.

‘Good on ya, matey,’ I said. ‘Look how big you’re getting.’

It only crossed my mind this morning, as I wrote this, that the gate also opens outwards.


be mine a little longer

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