Monday, January 11, 2010

New Revelations, New Beginnings

I guess there comes a time, in every parent's life, when you realise that the umbilical cord you've been protecting and nurturing since its beginnings, in full knowledge that at some stage in the future will have to be severed, has come.

My roadtrip to Adelaide was thus. Initially, it was just a roadtrip to see John Butler - just me and Adam. Adam and I bond over music, that's one of our connections and we both love John Butler. Still pandering to the youthfulness still alive and well within my slowly maturing body, I gave into the little voice - we've discussed Other Shaz prior - and said what the heck, let's go!

Now, in my reckoning and from past experience when speed limits were purely a gauge to try and follow and not really a legal requirement, Adelaide was only about 8 hours away. We'd done it in 8 hours before so....... Well........ it took us 10.5 hours to get there and that was doing 110 kms per hour and stopping 3 times, each for 20 minutes. LOOOOONG and uneventful drive it was. Loooooong and dry and dusty with nary a view to keep you awake and alert. Like a Hanna Barbera cartoon background that just keeps repeating itself, so was the scenery from Melbourne to Adelaide via the inland highway.....

Skimming over the absolute wonderment and awe-inspiring performance of John Butler, which I will regale you with in another post, the trip opened my eyes to so many things serendipitously.
One, my son hates long trips and becomes quite restless and grumpy. Restless I can deal with but grumpy jarred me. Given we were both unwitting hostages in the little red metal container hurtling down the freeways and highways of a dry and barren country, it was difficult to adjust to this grizzly person next to me.

Second, I think I've stretched the umbilical cord to capacity and now it's time to let my children free by bungy jumping them out of the post-uteral safety of childhood using said cord to help break the fall.

Alex and my relationship had already come to the destination a few months ago when we both realised that, as much as we really love each other and care for each other, we cannot express this love and caring under the same roof. However, I thought Adam still had a ways to go......but this roadtrip put a different canvas in front of me and the painting that was created was not the one I thought I was looking at.

It's time for both my children to embrace the adult world for all it's benefits and consequences. I had hoped for a more gentle metamorphosis but like all butterflies experience, morphing involves a little bit of discomfort and pain prior to the emerging beauty of another being.

This heralds a new beginning in my life. I am still their mother - I always will be. However, my role is now changing and I can now feel that shift - sometimes it comes like a sledgehammer, sometimes it flutters near my cheek like a soft butterfly kiss.

It's a double-edged sword really. With this new change comes a welcome sense of newfound freedom. This marks a new phase where I get to have some, if not all, of me back. I get to have the freedom to go and do whatever I want, whenever I want.

They say be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.
That is the other side of the sword because along with this sense of freedom accompanies a void inside where a vivacious, bubbly little girl with black luscious curls and a quiet, reserved little boy used to be. They needed and wanted Mummy and this room was born, deep within my heart, to house all the lovely little things that we experienced. That room's still there, only now it feels a little empty. The curtains fly with the soft warm breezes that memories create and the furniture still has the dents of where they used to sit. The door's ajar......I'm not sure if they're coming back or not. Something tells me they may return just for a visit. Something also tells me it's time to renovate this room for them when they do.

I look at new parents who long for rest and a little bit of their old freedom. I say hold onto these days. As tiring and frustrating as it appears to be, there will be a day when your child won't come and snuggle on your lap for comfort. There'll come a day when they won't turn to you to rescue them (nor should they). There will come a day when you will see them as entirely separate beings to you, not a part of you and their father........

It's like watching a ship that you have been building for years and years and years, lovingly and carefully, using the best materials you could afford and using the best skills you have learnt, peacefully sail away. You've done your best and you hope the ship sails well but a part of you feels like it was safer on dry dock. But that's not where life is and that's not what the ship was built for.

I'm standing on a cliff, watching my ships negotiate their way through rocks and storms and every fibre in my being wants to jump on board and steer for them. However, I can only watch, arms folded across my chest, and hope and pray.........

In the quietude that remains, I remember with a moaning little pain in my heart, all those lovely little times when bubbles were splashed up the wall in the bathroom accompanied with squeals and peals of laughter........of Grandad chasing you around our house and you running right up onto my lap and over on top of my shoulders for protection......of the times I bit you because I loved you, loved you, loved you so so much (still do).

All those and many million more memories flutter around that empty little room, deep inside me and I'm filled with gratitude for ever having experienced them in the first place......and the longing that goes with wanting to have that day back again, to feel your soft, warm little bodies back in my arms again.

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