Don’t panic I’ve not lost my high paid job (as I don’t have one). No I am referring to my life as a mother. Tonight another door on motherhood closed to me forever.
I was sitting down, minding my own business, happily watching nothing in particular on TV, and feeling all was quite good in my world, when the door opened. In came my youngest. At twelve, no longer a young child, but my baby regardless of her age.
‘Goodnight Mom’, she said, as she bent down to give me the usual Goodnight kiss.
‘Night sweetheart’ I replied, hugging her in return, but truthfully, I was trying to see over her shoulder and listen to the last two minutes of the mindless soap I was watching.
‘You don’t need to come up tonight Mom’, I heard her say as she left the room. ‘Okay darling‘ I replied, in not listening mode, while staring at the TV wondering would he really die?
‘What?’, I thought as I looked up. Then her words came back to me, ‘You don’t need to come up tonight Mom’ . I tried to get my head around it. No more ‘goodnights’. No more goodnight kisses, no last minute hugs, no shared moments lying together on the bed as she revealed something in her day she hadn’t told me earlier. No more bedtime.
Quickly I put all such thoughts out of my mind. ‘ Ah don’t mind her, she doesn’t really mean it’, I said.
I waited the usual twenty minutes or so and then up I went. I have begun to get used to the closed bedroom door, the closing of which was the last punch she gave us a couple of weeks ago. Unperturbed I opened it and went in. Now it may have been only twenty minutes since she had left me downstairs, but as I entered her room I knew times had changed. I was definitely getting the vibe, ‘Not Welcome’.
Many years of mothering have ensured that I have grown a thick skin. Choosing to ignore the frosty atmosphere, I bent over her fake, ‘I’m almost asleep,’ position, and gave her the obligatory bedtime kiss. She reached up and hugged me, but as she did so I knew, this was it. There was no softening her determination. These nights were no more.
As I kissed her I breathed in, inhaling twenty three years of bedtimes. Hoping it would allow me to forever remember that warm, tucked up smell of a child. My child.
An hour has passed and it is slowly sinking in. Yes there will be no more broken nights, no more early mornings and for that I am not sorry, but there will also be no more bedtime stories, no more bedtime chats, no more end of the day moments spent lying together.
I cannot help but feel redundant. I have been a mother of young children for over twenty years. Now what?
……………………..Well let me tell you what. Two weeks have passed since I wrote the above so here is the update.
Each night when she goes to bed she says ‘goodnight’ to us, but there continues to be an air of threat in her voice, as if she is warning us she still means business. However after she leaves I no longer feel sad. As I sit where I am and continue to watch, uninterrupted, the programme I was watching on TV, I can indulge in a glass of wine knowing she wont be calling me. I can light a candle, open the lap top and relax, enjoying the banter of social media. I can go to bed and not worry about a duvet that has fallen off or of waking a child while I tuck her in. I can sleep all night.
There is also another side to this loss of a young child. For hand in hand with bedtime, goes morning time. This morning I was blissfully reminded of it. I woke early and lay in bed relaxing. No one to disturb me. After a late night last night I was a little dehydrated, so I went downstairs for a cup of tea, and I made myself some toast. Alone. I then happily toddled back to bed with my breakfast and a book, knowing that I could stay there uninterrupted as long as I wished. As I settled down, reading my book and re hydrating, I congratulated myself on a job completed.
Yes there is a lot to be said for redundancy. In fact I can highly recommend it!