growing up

this is a rambling post; it's long too. my brain is frazzled. i'm tired. my emotions are all over the place. and something is tugging at me; one of the things i've been thinking about a lot is my son.

lately i feel like i spend an extraordinary amount of time and energy on maya. which also means i feel like i don't spend nearly enough time with ian. which, in turn, makes me feel bad -- i wish i could do more with/for him.

but, honestly, i don't know how he feels about it all. independent may not be the right word, but ian is content spending tons of time by himself. he's always been that way. so, in his eyes, i may not be neglecting him at all.

when maya is wailing in my ear, i can't help but long for those quiet afternoons when it was just me and ian. we would hang out, watching tv, reading books, taking naps, snacking. and i really liked that. we were the center of each other's worlds.

our relationship worked for five years because he's the ideal kind of kid for a parent like me. this is a selfish thing to say, but ian doesn't cramp my style. he's generously allowed me five years of "me" time, he hasn't asked too much of me, and still loves me. in many ways he's more mature than i am.

now, at five-and-a-half, ian is starting to detach himself from me ... and i'm not ready for it. i always whine that i can't wait until the kids are 18 and move away. but when ian told me i can't kiss him when i'm proud of him (unless he gives me permission), or when he neglects to give me a hug as i drop him off at school, i realize that he's ready to grow up. i am not ready.

and, slowly but surely, he's starting to experience things on his own. there are fewer and fewer shared experiences. i'm not there to hold his hand when he does something for the first time. i don't get to see his expressions of happiness, pride, uncertainty, hope. i can't always be there to protect him, to cheer him on, to witness firsthand his growth.

i have to get it secondhand. and i know i'm missing details. lots of them ...

yesterday he went on a field trip. i couldn't chaperone because there was no one to watch maya. it secretly drove me crazy that i wasn't going to be there. it didn't matter that the field trip was to a children's museum we've already gone to as a family. i did not want to miss a moment of ian's life. i remember feeling the same way just before he started kindergarten. going to school was not a new concept for us; he'd been in preschool for three years already. but when i stopped and thought about the oddest thing -- hot school lunch -- i was immediately hurt. the first time ian buys hot lunch i wouldn't be there to stand with him in line, to help him carry his tray, to open up his milk carton. and i was actually close to feeling devastated that i would miss this. i don't know if that feeling is the reason, but ian has taken a packed lunch with him everyday this school year.

anyway, i digress. when i saw him after the field trip it was like pulling teeth to get him to tell me about it. it was a good thing i'd been to the museum because i could ask him specific questions, "did you climb the structures? did you ride the trikes? where did you eat? did you go in the water? who was in your group? how was the bus ride?" i must've asked him 20 questions to try to piece together his day.

it turns out i didn't get the whole story anyway. i talked to the chaperone of his group, a mom i've become friendly with. ian told me he climbed part of the structure but didn't have time to get all the way up. i was impressed because when we went he really did not want to climb either of the structures (granted, this was a year and a half ago). we had to climb up with him very slowly, encouraging and praising him, and carrying him down because he couldn't do it on his own. so i was glad to hear he climbed up, even if he didn't get all the way to the top. the way ian told it, it was an uneventful climb. but the chaperone had some more details. the other boys in ian's group took off, climbing up no problem. ian, on the other hand, took his time. that's fine. but i guess part way up he started to get nervous and slightly panic-y. the chaperone is watching him, noticing the paniced look on his face. he gets down on his bum and tries to scoot down on his own. he doesn't call out for help, he remains calm. he's trying. but then a whole horde of bigger kids start climbing up the structure and ian can't get around them. the chaperone gets worried he's going to get squashed. this kind of event usually freaks ian out and he'll start to cry. but i guess he managed to escape the structure unscathed.

so, what's the point of this example? i think it shows how he's growing up. not only did he get through this incident on his own, but he didn't think it was a big deal that he had to get through it on his own. had i been there i would've made it into a big deal. it also shows that, like a teenager, he doesn't tell me anything! is this what i have to look forward to?

i just read back this particular story and rationally i don't know why i'm getting so emotionally worked up. does this incident really show that he's growing up? i don't know. i'm starting to think and act like a crazy, over-protective mother. (starting?! who am i kidding? i already am crazy and over-protective.) what's wrong with me? if i keep this up i'm going to make myself and ian neurotic.

this summer ian will go to baseball camp for a week with some friends. it's a day camp so it'll be just like going to school. he's perfectly capable of following directions and doing things on his own. but i can't let go. i'll have to work hard to grow up.

1 comment:

Steliza said...

It will never change Yukari. The baseball playing boy in our house is 42 years old now and I have to play 20 questions with him just to find out what *he* wants *me* to get at the grocery store for him. So, it isn't just Ian growing up, it is partly just because he is a guy...I am sure of it and have a mature living sample at my house as proof!