....and all that jazZ

Monday, August 14, 2017

Growing Pangs

To me "Summer" as a child meant freedom. Freedom from school and homework and routine. It meant boredom, lazing, finding stories to live in, reading, painting, hanging out with friends and cousins and celebrating my birthday in the middle of may, with cousins or grandparents for company. Summer is the time when time is supposed to pause or drag along at best. As June would approach there would be the excitement of a new grade, a new class and new desk partners. Books would be bought, duly covered in crisp brown paper, names beautifully transcribed on it, a labor of love really. 

As a mother, my summer seems to have become an exercise in recreating that nostalgia, or not. As a mother who works in summer unlike my own who had those days off, it is quite the task. If one added all the skills the child could potentially be acquiring, the places one could be seeing, the wonders of nature one could be experiences, to one side of the scale, "Freedom", "Boredom" etc seem words from another era - outdated. They eventually tipped the scales in good measure but not without digging their heels deep into a reverie of another life. It required the grand-mom making that trip across the seven seas, constant scheduling of play dates and some artful jugglery of the nanny's time.  My first born also is a summer baby. His birthdays are a family affair like mine were. That is where the similarity ends. The nature and definition of that has assumed, comparatively, gargantuan proportions. It involves planning, reservations, circumventing work schedules etc all in an effort to "keep it simple". The irony of it is not lost on us but we happily keep the circus going.

This summer, my second actual summer as a mother ( kid starting 2nd grade and all), two things happened. Mowgli had his very first vacation without his parents. He is on a short trip with his grandmother to visit extended family in Wisconsin. It has been quite the growing up experience for me. I did not bat an eyelid before consenting to send him, but now I find myself with a half empty nest and a weekend with time to kill. Normally that would be a very good thing. It still is, but I have to concede that I am humbled. I realize that I want everything I want and I want that brat of a boy, with all his decibel levels and neediness in the background. I guess all moms know it, I was just taken aback by the very sudden realization of how much I miss him. I grew a few years as a mother knowing that my boy all of 7 is a bit more grown up than I imagine him to be sometimes.

The second big thing and really the biggest thing to happen all year is that Ponyo decided to grow up this summer.  She rides her bike without training wheels, swims unassisted, writes her name with pride and is gearing to attack preschool in 2 days. This is the baby who has been at home for 3.5 years. I have not fully appreciated yet how much her being a baby means to me and just like that she decided to grow up ! I want to stomp my foot, cross my arms and sulk at how cruel time is. I am humbled as I walk down this path again, learning yet again, to allow her the space to grow into who she must be. 

This summer seems to be telling me that I must grow up too.  I seem to have confused some of my own needs as a mother for those of my children, and that is a hard habit to break. Growing up is fun at 7 and 3. Growing up at 38 is a different story altogether. "Growing up" as a mother watching her children grow up at a pace she cant keep up with, is not without heartache. 

To endless summers, mine and yours.