Linda Hill | VenusBlogs Contributor
[dc]I[/dc] remember the day he was born – or rather the week he was born. He was my first. My water broke slowly over the period of that week and I slept so little that I was able to read a 1700 page novel in three days. When it was time to push (sans epidural – they didn’t offer them in the province of Quebec at the time) I did so for hours before they told me a physical defect in the base of my spine would make it impossible to deliver naturally.
After recovering from my c-section a week later we brought him home. Like many new parents we had no idea what to do with him. No matter what we did, he cried — oh how he cried. His appetite was almost insatiable. And even though he kept me up for months on end I loved him more than anything, ever. I was mom.
We moms give birth, nurture, feed, clothe and kiss it all better; we are mom. Mother is the universal feeling to all of us who have grown up and been loved by a maternal figure — even when we’re not related to her by blood, she is mom.
It has been many years since I left my mother’s side, moved from her home to celebrate my independence as a woman. Now I find myself in her shoes. My eldest son, now eighteen and having reached an incredible (to me) height of almost six feet, left home to live with his girlfriend last week.
I was determined to be brave even as he announced his imminent departure whilst searching for a tear in my eye. I haven’t yet shed a single one, but at the same time I do feel a sense of … loss. Had his move been to a faraway place rather than just around the corner I may have reacted quite differently.
I remember when he was seven years old and had to take the bus to school. I wasn’t able to go outside with him so every morning at 7:15 he kissed me goodbye at the door, and walked alone with his Pokemon backpack to his stop a distance from the house — the bus met him on the corner of our street and a main road. I would hurry to stand at the window, to watch for the distinctive yellow roof of the bus, making sure that it stopped at his corner. Once I knew he was aboard I would hope and pray that his bus would get him to school safely.
I recall like it was yesterday the time I answered the phone, close to noon, and the school secretary asked me why my son, my firstborn, was absent… but he had left that morning, just like any other… Of course it was the one day I hadn’t been able to watch for the bus.
There is nothing that can equal the terror of thinking that your child has gone missing. Time stood still while I waited for the office to communicate with his teacher, to confirm that the snowstorm that morning had prevented his bus from getting to school on time, which caused him to miss attendance.
Now that he has left home for good the uncertainty is endless; is he where I think he is? Is he safe when he goes out, no longer on a bus but occasionally driving a car? Ah yes, the wonders of teenagers driving. Of course when we were young we didn’t think that way. Experience advances us the realization that many of the things you were sure you knew back then, perhaps you didn’t.
And so my new life without him begins. I miss saying goodnight to him while I wonder when the hell he’ll get off the computer and go to bed. I’ll even miss calling him several times to get the hell up. I think about what I should buy him when I go shopping for food and I catch myself reaching for his favourite noodles only to pull my hand back, realizing all at once that he doesn’t live with me any more. My baby has grown up. He can now feed himself.
I miss having him to talk to about ‘grown up’ stuff — both teaching him and learning the ways of the younger generation. I just miss having him around.
It’s so hard to fathom that it wasn’t just yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital. I still have the tiny outfit he wore. I remember his baby smell and being the only one who fed him. Now, as a mom who has earned over the years the privilege to be called mom to a young man, I have discovered some of what my own mother might have gone through when I left home for the first time. Considering even into my forties I still answer to her, maybe that never really ends.
Linda Hill enjoys a life of child rearing and freelance writing in small-town Southern Ontario, Canada. You can visit her blog at http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/ to read some of her works of fiction, poetry and more.