I’m his mother … I need to let go

Today, being Thursday, I stayed home with my child. That’s how it goes. Thursday rolls around. We wake up, have breakfast, wave goodbye to Robert. Then we fang around a bit and maybe go for a pram walk, to the shops, just do stuff.

In a hectic week, sometime we don’t even get out of our pyjamas. But this is not a story about our usual life on Thursdays, it is a story about how I have to reconcile the other days. The days when I am not the only strong influence. When I don’t dictate what happens, what gets said, what Benedict eats, who he interacts with – in short this is about the rest of the days of his life.

Sometimes I don’t like what happens in the environment my child inhabits. Sometimes I disagree with what language gets used. I will never, for example, be comfortable with anyone encouraging him to say ‘ta’. Never. I can’t stand it. But people use it with small children. And while at the moment I have beaten it (metaphorically) out of him by saying 40 times an hour ‘ thank you’ – say please and thank you, thank you – it exists out there, threatening to influence him. Sometimes people use terms of endearment I do not like. I do not like, for example, shortened forms of my child’s name. Hate them all. But people shorten his name. Sometimes all the time I can’t do anything about this, without appearing like a total harridan. I got thinking this afternoon, I need to let go. Does it actually matter?

Off I go ... just watch me.

When Benedict was born, I had a strange feeling. Just before he was born, in the seconds before he appeared, I had, what only can be described as, an out-of-body experience. I didn’t lose consciousness, I was completely lucid, I’d had no drugs, but I was definitely watching what was happening to me, to us.

It is the same now. He’s two, but is such a competent person. He can express himself, ask for things, act according to his will and desires and I have to just watch, look on, sometimes in a sort of painful state of suspended animation, until he needs be to assisted. I realised this afternoon, with a shock, that I am just along for the ride. I was at the moment of his birth learning to let go, to watch and hover but to be always already letting him go.