Ownership Involves Things – Not People

Today’s article is brought to you by the word “Simmer”.

Enjoying looking through some quotes and anecdotes about children modeling the behavior they learn in the home, I came across one that set my pleasant mood on fire. It stuck out like a sore thumb, and did not belong alongside such positive tones. The title was something along the lines of Rules for Dating My Son.

Pausing, taking a deep breath, and re-reading the list of rules, I tried to turn down the flame of anger and let it simmer a moment. The musing was written by a mother who thought she was writing a warning to future female suitors and a powerful message of unification to all mothers of sons. The words she used made it feel as though she was speaking of her most prized possession. Something she owned and held close for no one else to enjoy or love, like that of a caged bird she fed and adored. It was a message to mothers of sons that no one can take your son away from you. That she will be watching his girlfriend or wife’s every move with a skeptic’s eye. It was a message to send fear into the woman that would come to love her son or perhaps that already does. That the love of his girlfriend or wife would never match his mother’s and she will always be his number one love. That he is hers and always will be.

I don’t feel this way as a mother. I don’t feel ownership over my children. I don’t feel they need to put me first in their lives, because, truth be told, they should focus on becoming the best versions of themselves so they can benefit society as a whole. It has nothing to do with me. They are allowed to love and love freely. I’ll never feel jealous of a girlfriend or a wife, a friend, or a partner of theirs. That would be silly. I’m their mother and of course I always will be until I’m no longer here. I birthed them, but they owe me nothing because they did not ask to be born. Their father and I chose to bring them into this world and it is our duty to raise them to be compassionate, loving, generous, confident, thoughtful, to make sound decisions, and to keep them safe. It is not their duty to make me number one their entire lives.

I know they love me, and that is more than enough.

When and if they marry someday, I will be crying tears of joy and nostalgia. Not tears of insecurity and jealousy. I will not wish harm upon their lovers. They are my children, not things I own or possess. I can only hope the woman who wrote that selfish and scary musing comes across this post to understand she has much work to do on herself and the many roles we each play in the game of life. She is not only a mother, she is a woman, a worker, a daughter, a friend, perhaps a wife, or a sister. My advice to mothers who feel this way would be to diversify and put energy into each of these roles instead of only defining yourself as the doting, overprotective mother.

If you truly love someone, set them free. This is an anecdote I can get behind.

 

via Daily Prompt: Simmer

A Shared Interest

Beaming in the backseat of the car you gleefully exclaimed that you had finally found something that you “actually like”. We were driving back from your first hip hop dance class and sweat was glistening on your blonde brow.

During the short ride home we bantered about the feeling that comes over  the both of us when we dance. More specifically, when the song is really cranked up and you feel it on the outside and the inside. Hearing that you had not only found your “thing” but that we share the very same interest made my own excitement palpable.

We’ve always enjoyed breaking it down together in the kitchen in the privacy of our own home. This was different though. This was an activity you consistently asked to go to, and you were seriously bummed about missing if  I didn’t make it home in time from work to take you to a class.  I wondered still if it would be a short lived interest and you would move on to something else or lose interest as you had with soccer.

It was almost a year ago when you made this announcement about finding something you really enjoy.  You’ve since shared a stage with your best friend, performing in the variety show as a second grader. And now, in just two days, you will be on stage again for your second time ever doing a hip hop routine with your peers. You’re both excited and nervous -you’ve mentioned this now a couple of times. We chat about how it’s normal to feel that way before a performance and that’s what makes it fun. The thrill of going on stage, the lights on you, lots of people watching and the fear mixed in are all part of the territory. I watch you dance at home and in the car and at rehearsals – and you just beam. You go into your own little world and it’s really cool to watch.

When you’re older, I’ll talk to you about this time in our lives. “This time” as in the right now. I want you to know how momentous it was for me to be your mom watching you grow, develop interests,  and experience this piece of your personality unfolding. To share a common interest that we both feel so passionately about makes this a true bonding experience for me. I didn’t think it was possible to actually notice bonding. I can’t say that I’ve had any bonding experiences thus far in life quite like this one.

Someday, when my body doesn’t quite work the way it used to, and I can’t dance with you, run with you, or keep up with you the way I do now, I’ll have to think back to this beautiful experience. A shared love of something that allowed us to be a part of something separately but together at the same time. I’ll be so grateful, my heart will be immensely full and I’ll sit back in my wheelchair and wipe a tear from my old wrinkled cheek while reminiscing about the glory days of motherhood and a body that still worked. And then right at that moment, more than likely your dad will dare me to get up out of my wheelchair and twerk… and the sentimental moment will pass.