So…recently I experienced one of the scariest moments of parenthood that I have had to date!
I have two sons, now aged 17 and 19 years.
Like many mothers with sons, they are the suns (sons, get it!) in my own personal piece of sky, providing the light and warmth in my world; tall, red-haired, handsome (I make no excuse for bias!), mischievous, funny (often at their long-suffering mum’s expense!) affectionate, loving…you get the picture!
It seems that we have been a family now for a very long time; not far off 20 years in fact. We’ve seen pets – cats, dogs, rabbits, rats – come and go. We’ve decorated, and redecorated bedrooms several times over, with themes moving rapidly from Postman Pat to Spiderman; astronauts to skateboards, Kurt Cobane, vinyl records, and speakers with a bass that moves houses!
My mother-less, flower-filled garden has been replaced with a purpose-built wooden castle complete with towers, secret trapdoors and rope swings, which gave way in time to a half-pipe, crowded with the egos of skateboarding pre-teens (and a dad in full mid-life crisis mode!).
We have navigated the education system as best we could; a sobbing toddler left in the arms of a nursery teacher reaching out for mum as she leaves; a Reception child bravely swinging his book bag as he walks into class; a Junior schoolboy running through the school doors with barely a backward glance; then finally Senior school, half-child, half-adult, complex, moody and needing mum without admitting it to anyone, even themselves.
We are now on college choices, work experience and wages; girlfriends, boyfriends and talking about the future…oh, and driving.
As a mum, I admit wholeheartedly that parenting my sons has been scary; fear, a part of the emotional ambush that is born with the placenta I think.
Now they are 17 and 19, I hoped I might be done with much of the catastrophizing: Breastfeeding – what if they don’t latch on, can’t feed and become malnourished, affecting their growth and development for the rest of their life? Climbing frames – what if they fall from a great height, hurt themselves and become paralysed? Learning to swim – what if they are struggling in the water during a lesson, the swimming teacher doesn’t see them and they drown? Independence – what if they get lost on the way to the skatepark, somebody picks them up and I never see them again?
Just a few of the many, many (did I say a lot?) many examples of worrying that we, as parents, experience on a regular and sometimes completely irrational basis, about the people who are our world!
So, this brings me nicely back to my scariest moment to date.
Did I mention driving?
It wasn’t watching my eldest son get into a car on his own for the very first time…although admittedly that was VERY scary.
No, it was my youngest son getting into his brother’s car, and watching them drive away…TOGETHER!