I can't be your little boy forever, Mom!
I never thought I would hear those eight words being uttered by Elliot. He has always been such a mama's boy and proud of it. Ever since he was born, he has been stuck to me like glue, and because of everything we have gone through together and all the challenges that still lie before him, I have always felt that we have a deep connection. That we need each other. He was going to be my boy who lived in the basement. My Peter Pan, who refuses to grow up. But, that is changing. Elliot is seeking out his independence. He wants to do more on his own and he wants space from his mama. I get it, and part of me is really proud of him for it, but there is a tiny, selfish part of me that really wishes he would stop growing up so gosh darn quickly.
Elliot was uber-excited to turn twelve because that meant he could legally stay home alone. He was almost counting down the days. Unfortunately though, at the same time that he turned twelve a few homes in our area were broken into it, while people were home! This terrified me, and I wouldn't leave any of my kids home alone, including Zoe. I have not been able to tell Elliot the real reason why our date nights have suddenly come to an abrupt halt or why the kids must go with me on every menial errand I run because he is already plagued with a million and one worries, and we don`t need this one added to the list. Whenever he protests that it is because I don't trust him, I assure him that this is not true and simply explain:
Elliot, I trust YOU. I just don't trust everyone else.
For the moment, this explanation seems to work, but he is not pleased with it.
So . . . . . . .
Last week, Zoe was babysitting for a friend of ours in the Rothesay area, but she also tutors another friend`s daughter in math two mornings a week. It just so happened that one of the days she had to babysit, she also had to tutor. We decided that the boys and I would go with her to her babysitting job, and we would take the little girl she was babysitting to the playground, while Zoe tutored up the road. Since this meant we were crossing the river and joining a much more civilized part of the world, where sidewalks exist and the speed limit is only 50 km (man, I love sidewalks!), the boys begged me to let them bring their bikes along. I love my home on the Peninsula! I love the beauty that surrounds us - the trees, the river, and all the birds that call my backyard their home. I love the fact that we own a huge lot and unlike our old home in Saint John, I don`t have five other homes looking into my backyard, but . . . the peninsula is not a child-biking friendly area. We live on a country highway, which means there really is no speed limit and the windy narrow roads are really not conducive to such speeds, but that does not seem to phase anyone. Top all of this off with the countless beer cans I find sprawled alongside the road everyday, I have decided that our road is not child-biking friendly.
Anyhoo . . .
The boys took their bikes with us this particular day and rode them to the playground. They were so excited and I can`t blame them. I remember the exhilarating feeling of being a kid and riding your bike along the busy streets and biking out of sight from your mom. It`s your first taste of freedom and it is awesome! After we finished up at the playground, . . . oh, I just have to mention that raising Thing 4 is going to be a piece of cake with these two big brothers. My boys LOVE little kids and they played hard at the playground with the little girl Zoe was babysitting. It warmed my heart to see them so gentle with her and so willing to entertain. So . . . . after we finished up at the playground, the boys begged me to let them ride their bikes back to Grammie`s. My initial reaction was to say no because my mother lives a fair distance away, but then I remembered that when I was twelve, just like Elliot, I would bike to my friend, Anne`s house, almost every day, who just happened to live a minute away from where the boys and I were now. Ugh! I hate parental dilemmas. I looked at Elliot who was giving me those pleading, puppy dog eyes that he has mastered so well, and I could not say no. Really, I had no reason to say no. If I could do it, he could do it too, and that`s when he said it, those eight little words that keep ringing in my ears:
I can`t be your little boy forever, Mom!
You are right, Elliot. Yes, you and Avery can bike to Grammies.
And so I let them go. Well, I let them go as much as I could. As soon as I walked back to where Zoe was babysitting, I hopped into my car and went on the search for my boys. I passed them walking their bikes up a steep hill, and I had to giggle. They looked so cute and so grown-up making the trek up the hill and talking the whole time. I decided to park my car on a side street further up the road to watch for them. After a couple of minutes I saw them bike past me. Elliot was yelling instructions to Avery behind him and they were zooming along. Then I decided to drive to a parking lot further along their route and wait for them there. Sure enough, after a few minutes, they sped past me, but this time I was spotted. They laughed and waved at me. Finally, I decided to let them do the rest of the journey on their own and I drove to my parent`s house. To see their faces when they victoriously turned onto my childhood road was so rewarding for me as a parent. They were ecstatic! They had accomplished a difficult task on their own, and they felt invincible. I am so glad that I did not listen to my inner Nervous Nelly because honestly, she can be a terrible bore sometimes.
Way to go boys!
Parenting is so hard because it is one of those jobs where your whole purpose is to put yourself out of a job . . . tee hee!
Have a great weekend!