Friday night is here… the family has congregated in front of the TV. Heated debates follow and we finally pick a channel to stick to. Through all of this excitement, from the corner of my eye I watch the door of my daughter’s room. As if on cue, the door flies open and a powder puff in high heels and make-up rushes out. It’s Friday night, how did I even imagine that she would stay home with the family? “Ma! I have a life too y’know!” she rolls her eyes at my desire to see her at home. After changing her clothes five times and then switching shoes to match the outfit, she is finally out the door 3 hrs after the whole process began. I’M exhausted! I know this routine so well. I’ve watched it unfold before my eyes, two nights a week for the past 3 years – that’s when she was granted freedom from her fledgling status. I know by instinct now, not to plan a family gathering on a Friday or Saturday night because a vivacious part of my family will be missing – my daughter!
I remind myself of the time I was pregnant with her tiny fragile body growing inside me. I remember being filled with fear; not knowing how I would protect her from the world when she came out. I remember vowing to protect her from every single heartbreak and unpleasantness. For the first few years I was paranoid – every shriek, every cough, every nap, every movement was monitored, and here she was walking out the door into the night when she really should be tucked into bed! In my need to shelter her, I obsessed over everything that had anything to do with her. I eventually realized that I wasn’t alone. I saw this behavior reflected back to me in every mother I met. I think when we become mothers, a very base animalistic nature in us kicks in. It was a relief to see that it was normal to feel so fiercely protective of your baby!
My daughter is all grown up now and over the years we’ve had more fights that I can remember about things big and small. Every time she slammed the door angrily in my face or told me to stay out of her life, I felt a jab of physical pain. When she left home to go to college, I cried like a baby. When she came back home I cried some more. I know she’ll leave home again soon to live her own life and start her own family, and I am crippled with fear. Fear that I’ll miss her too much; that I won’t be able to let go.
Motherhood is such a difficult job.. But I’ve loved every moment of it! It has made me deliriously happy and immensely proud. I can almost see all you mothers out there nodding in agreement because motherhood is such a universal emotion. For those of you contemplating having a child, what are you waiting for? It will be the most significant thing you’ll do with your life. I promise!