now what?

He was about 3 years old.  Playing on a short concrete wall at a local festival this afternoon.  Sky blue shorts – which no older boy would be caught dead in – and a matching print shirt.  Dad was watching close by, doing a good job balancing the need to let his child explore while maintaining situational awareness.  Knowing that a microsecond of inattention could lead to a multitude of problems…

Slapping me upside the head was the memory.  Taking my young creatures out to festivals, hauling their tired asses around in a wagon.  Watching parades.  Eating shit food at the amusement park, while they got sticky-gooey goodness all over their hands, faces and anything unfortunate enough to be within splash range.  Giving them the requisite ‘spit bath’ before throwing them back in the car…

There was clarity and focus then.  Every decision i made had to be weighed against potential impact to my children.  Not a formal process, just something my mind did naturally.  Often, the answer was “no impact, rock on…”, but there was a natural step in my decision calculus to assess how it might affect the kids.

i knew my purpose.  i knew my priorities.  And when necessary?  Nothing got between Momma Bear and her Cubs.  It made me stronger in so many ways.  More fearless.  More assertive.  i grew a great deal during those years…

Now?  With The Girl, at 22, graduated and seeking employment, even though she’s temporarily lodged in my basement, she does her own thing, and i do mine.  The Boy returns to the university in a couple weeks, and is pretty much on his own.  Our time together is different.  Very enjoyable, but the relationships have changed.

Seeing the little critter today, perhaps more so, watching his father… i realized that some of my aimlessness and restlessness could be directly attributable to the simple fact that no one needs me.  Not a single soul is dependent upon me for much of anything…  A thought that is simultaneously liberating and terrifying.

27 thoughts on “now what?

  1. they will always need you…….always……there are only small period when they don’t but no matter how old or far away they will always return home for something…..sometimes it;s just to be home, to be close…..

  2. Come on now Daisyfae, you know there are plenty of people who need you. For one, ME. I need your humor (and occasional sexy outfit) to help me keep my life a little more sane.

    Wait a second, does that speak to how important you are or to how pathetic my life is? I choose to believe the former.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    😀

    TAG

  3. I gotta say, I’m envious. Some days, I feel like the sheer weight of other’s needs is stooping me over. I know it won’t always be like this, but still…

  4. is it so much that they need you, or that they need you in reality a different way?

    one of my dearest, most cherished friends during my 20’s was my ex’s mom…she wasn’t just a source of wisdom but a source of security when my real mom wasn’t the best example of adulthood….. I am confident that you are a quality foundation of sanity(?) in this world of fucked up reality.

    I’m now 37 years old and she’s been a close confidant ever since I dumped her son (she must really love -!me) and she’s supported me during the recently vile eruption of male crapitude of my currently inept ex.

  5. manuel – our goal from the day they were born was to help them grow to be independent, functional adults. while i know they will still ‘want’ to be home (and we’ve all agreed that ‘home’ is where the three of us are together – with a dog), they can manage on their own… that’s how it’s supposed to be… (sigh)

    TAG – thanks! it is nice to serve a purpose… as i’ve often said (stolen from Despair.Com) “perhaps the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others)”…

    ginny – i remember those days. it seemed that in the morning, when i’d be in my 12 square foot bathroom, trying to put on makeup for work, that my three housemates, and the dogs, would always be in there, under my feet, wanting something… ‘crushing’ is the right word. but it’s only ‘for now’… you’ll get on the other side of it one of these days.

    fweng ebola – that’s where i am now. the thought of someone needing me, or depending on me? scary as hell. makes dating difficult to say the least, as human nature for normal folks tends to make them want to pair up… i like being on my own, being unfettered… but the fact is, i could disappear from the face of the earth, and while it would be noticed? there would be no gap in service…

    jenuine – very cool that you found a rock-solid maternal surrogate. we all can benefit from those seasoned, rational ‘adults’ in our lives… i know they’d miss me. i know they appreciate me ‘being here’, listening, supporting and all that… it’s just that i no longer have to focus my existence around the care and feeding of others. kinda scary at 47 years old to know that… and bombay? who needs a fucking boyfriend?

    stephanie – yes. you nailed it. he is my dependent one… and i DO have to schedule around his needs. but i don’t really have to worry about his emotional development, vocational training, education, relationship health, etc. but quite honestly? without him, i suspect i’d be a disaster on legs….

  6. I remember the stage you’re going through very clearly …… even now it wanders back into my conciousness occasionally – it soon passes though. My job now is to try and embarrass them as much as possible …… seems to be working – tee hee

  7. Obviously, I’m not there yet. I’m starting to see hints of it with my oldest boy, a sophomore, but the rest still need me . . . to play catch, watch movies, general mayhem and madness. I imagine I’ll miss the fire as well, but for now, it’s raging . . .

  8. i know it’s a way’s off, a long ways off, but i don’t look forward to it, i know my job is to raise some sweet little boys into some well adjusted, independent men, but man i’m gonna miss it when it’s gone that’s why even though it’s hard sometimes i relish every second, maybe i’m weird, maybe i realize from talking to my father that they are gone before you know it, i left at 17 to go to school, but hugging and kissing those kids, fuck i get misty eyed when i drop them off at daycare sometimes, i may look like a big hairy monster but i’m really just a gigantic cream puff.

  9. alex – not a fan of cats, but i could start adopting stray dogs. fill the place up until it smells like a pig farm! i know they need me. but i can be damn near anywhere in the world to support them… so ‘going mobile’ is squarely on the table… and it’s a great big world out there!

    uncle keith – can i keep you chained up in the storage room downstairs? i’ll generally have to come home once a day to feed you. that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

    DP – i have stated that it is my purpose in life to embarass my children. But they have adapted, and developed strong immunity. When i did the “Be In” scene in a local production of Hair (topless), my daughter (attending with one of her male friends from the university) simply sent me a text at intermission “Nice rack”. No where to go from there… except public scandal…

    tNb – he is masterful, isn’t he?

    nursemyra – mine are still at the ‘coming and going’ from the homestead phase, so it’s generally a partially infested nest. but i can leave town when i want to, stay out all night, do impulsive things – so long as the dog has company. wide open…

    unbearable banishment – remembering the military-scale logistics (especially for vacations), i don’t really miss that part. but i was good at it… oh, and “Give it to me now and give it to me hard”? you stilll talking about freedom, right?

    tysdaddy – enjoy it. while not really better or worse, the next phase sure is different!

    kono – you’re a great father, hairy cream puff or otherwise. i used to cry randomly at the day care drop offs… knowing the day would come. knowing that the whole point was to get to that day… but knowing that so much of my soul was wrapped around their care and feeding…

  10. You ain’t a greek mother, as far as i know. Which is good. Cos it means you ain’t checking on him every second of his life, and giving him orders like he’s in the army.

    Still though. You’re his ma. Course he needs you. And he’ll look for you more often than (both of) you are prepared to accept.

    He needs to taste independence. And you… You need to start being proud.

  11. @ UK – watch out, or the next thing you’ll be hearing is “…put the lotion in the fucking basket…”

    @ daisyfae: You’re onto something a bit. But, I believe it’s called “conditioning”. You have to re-train your way of thinking. It is now “all about you”. You’ve given the sprogs the concrete basis they need to go off and do their thing. Sure, they’ll lean on you from time to time. And you’ll let them. Mostly so you have a place to live when you’re old and crotchety.

  12. a) Ditto to TAG.

    b) If you start hoarding pets I’ll be out there to straighten you out. No hoarding. One or at the most, two at a time. No pig farms downtown either. EWWWW! Knew some of those folks when I worked at the dog pound.

  13. jinjir minjir – not greek, but a sicilian hillbilly. no idea how that translates into the realm of maternal nagging! And i know they both need me – my daughter (the 22 year old) told me she thought this post sad… and explaining it last night, it’s not just that i don’t feel ‘needed’, it’s that part of my foundation is shifting…

    uncle keith – working on your birthday shipment. look for a large box with air holes in it…

    rob – yep. time to be selfish. i know that. feels a little oogie, though. i’ve done the volunteer gig all my life – and found that somewhat satisfying, but ultimately, we all only do it to feel good about ourselves. i got burnt out on the ‘oooooh, aren’t we all wonderful for being volunteers’ stink that always lurked beneath the surface of such things… it’ll have to be something else….

    silverstar – thank you! i’m unlikely to adopt more than one dog at a time because i really hate dogshit. really. which kinda points to how much i love mr. pickles because i willingly carry his warm dogshit in a plastic bag twice a day…

  14. I must confess…as I am about to turn 39 I continue to count down the years until my youngest is 18 and much more independent. I had it all planned. I would be 43 when the last kiddo turned 18, howeverrrrr…hubby and I have been talking a lot lately about how we would like to have a baby. We each have step children but not one of our own. Therefore, hypocritical me, who has told others it’s ok to be my age with no children is planning on going out on the limb and having a baby. I will be in my late 50’s or early 60’s by the time our child will be 18…excited nervous and scared all at the same time.

  15. hisqueen – that’s an exciting decision! very cool! i have many friends in their 40’s who have young children, and have done the same math regarding when they’ll be out of the house. but you know what? i don’t think there are any regrets in the bunch! good luck!

  16. Very enjoyable, but the relationships have changed.>/i>
    I understand this fully.
    attributable to the simple fact that no one needs me.
    I disagree 100%.
    Reading here has told me one thing, someone will always need you.
    You have far too much to give, my dear.
    I think of all you’ve given me . . .
    (I hear you laughing)
    Your words speak multitudes.
    Stop selling yourself short, okay?
    pax,
    ~m

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