Some years ago, I played the part of Mae Peterson, the domineering mother in “Bye Bye, Birdie” in a community theatre production. At the time, my own kids were well beyond childhood, so I could relate somewhat to the character. I never considered myself a clingy mom, or one who couldn’t let go of her children, so that part took a little research. I have to admit, it was fun standing in a trash can, expounding on the woes of being a neglected mother – one who could be compared to an empty can of Bumble Bee Tuna ready for the garbage.
Now that my own kids have been out on their own and self-sufficient for a number of years, it would be safe to say that the apron strings have been severed. However, in my opinion, one never stops being a mother. Even though they’re far away from your watchful eye – even though miles separate you physically – even when you know they have all the tools they need to get through life – there is a Mrs. Peterson in each one of us.
We wish we could still put a bandage on a scuffed knee and make it better. We long for those unending, “whys” or the sound of a child’s voice repeating the word, “mom,” over and over and over again. We recall the many lessons taught, the little victories, the hugs, the hand made art work – all of which hold a treasured spot in your heart. Still, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, is their independence.
Let it not be forgotten that we moms will feel the angst of a lost job – a health issue – a financial concern – almost as much as they do, but we must be confident that we’ve given them the tools to get through those things. When we give them the one thing needful, those obstacles in their lives will not seem as difficult.
Being a mom doesn’t stop when your child leaves home. You pray more for their well being. You stay in touch without being overbearing. You give them their space, but let them know you’re available whenever they need you. You long for their company, but realize they have busy lives too. You make the most of the time you have together. You continue to love them unconditionally. You let them go, knowing that God has them in the palm of His hand.
If that doesn’t work, you feel sorry for yourself and find a trash can.