Watching Our Children Grow

September 12, 2023

If I had a time machine, I would go back in time and try to make more time to spend with my kids as they were growing up, even if it meant turning the PS1 off far more often. You know those perfect moments when you’re lying next to them in bed reading the same Winnie the Pooh story over and over. Even watching Mary Poppins for the umpteenth time when they were not feeling well feels nostalgic…

On Saturday, I met up with one of my closest friends whose son has been offered a job in Australia. Once his visa comes through, it looks like he could be leaving in around 6 weeks’ time. I could tell from the moment she walked in that something was wrong; she was just so tense; at first I thought that she had hurt her shoulder again.

When you are close with your family, it’s hard to see them move away physically. Platitudes like “what an amazing place to go on holiday” don’t really help when your weekly routine involves having your child come round for Sunday dinner, even though they are already in their late 20s.

You worry about the fact that their grandparents may never see them again, think about how it could be a long time before you spend a birthday together and missing out on seeing any grand children grow up. You consider moving to the other side of the world, but deep down, you recognise that if they moved again for whatever reason, then you may be stuck in a country you only went to because of them. And deep down, you recognise that selling up and moving away yourself is a very big commitment and the impact it will have on the rest of your family, social life and work.

Our babies soon grow up and then the life we have given them is theirs to live and hopefully enjoy for many years to come. As with all relationships, we should endeavour to never make someone responsible for making us feel complete and this includes our children. I recognise that it is quite hard; giving up our role as a mother by letting our children go out into the world takes bravery, since our every instinct is to continue to nurture and care for them. It’s perfectly normal to grieve the parting of ways with our children, however we need to ensure that this is not felt as failure.

A reminder too that we also need to focus on our own life and find a sense of purpose from the things we do. Life is also about making memories that will continue to make us smile, and in so doing, we are never too far from those we love; they live rent free in our heads and our hearts.

Are you upset over knowing your child will soon be going off, for example to University ?

Talking to someone who has gone through that can help; please reach out to us.

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