Monday, May 28, 2012

Tears of a mom ?

Someone asked me if I’d cry at our daughter’s high school graduation this week.
Nope, I said. No tears for me. I’ve got to remain focused. I’ve still got two more teens to see through the 12th grade. There won’t be any crying until the last one graduates six years from now. After that, I might cry.
Motherhood is a marathon — and not always in a wacky Bay to Breakers kind of way. I’m only one-third of the way into this particular motherhood marathon, and I need to pace myself. A mom cannot run out of gas with six years of high school left to go.
Motherhood can be a grueling marathon — the kind in which you fall down and scrape your knees raw and bloody. Motherhood is the kind of race in which you’ve got a really bad blister on one foot and with each step it only gets worse. In this marathon, every other mother seems to be running way faster and better than you. Even worse, the crowd is filled with bored teenagers. None of them are cheering you on because they are all texting each other or rolling their eyes.
I often feel like I am going in circles as I repeat the same advice/ instructions/threats over and over. Maybe motherhood is like a NASCAR race. In the Motherhood 500, the drivers/moms all start at the same time, but some of us need a pit stop along the way for more air in the tires, or other crew support. Some of us moms may narrowly avoid crashing in a spectacular pile-up.
On second thought, maybe motherhood is more like Bay to Breakers. And if so, what kind of runner does that make me? I could be one of those elite runners at the front, setting the pace and breaking course records. Or maybe I would be part of one of those centipedes. I could be the one running in a gorilla suit or dressed as Elvis. I would not be the one running naked.
I used to be mystified when parents of teens would talk about how they couldn’t wait for their kid to turn 18 so they could move out.
Tsk, tsk, I used to think. What kind of a mom wants to kick her own kid out of the house? Oh, how naïve I was. I was the mayor of Naïvete. I was the Queen of the Kingdom of Naïveland.
These days, I’m the one who’s counting down. The endless quizzing about homework assignments, tests and math grades will be over. I’ll turn over my responsibilities as the drill sergeant whose goal is to get everyone out the door at 7:35 a.m. precisely, five days a week. I’m ready to turn over the reins. OK, maybe half of the reins.
No, we’re not throwing her to the wolves. She’s going to college, and we’re paying for most of it. We’ll continue to freely dispense parental guidance even when she thinks she doesn’t need it. But she’ll be 18. A so-called “adult.” That means she can take it from here.
And I can’t wait.

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