children. joys and challenges, Jade Young, sleepless in samoa

He introduced me to Joy

My son went on a Youth camp to the Coromandel Peninsula in the weekend. After i dropped him off at the chapel, I drove my car around the corner and burst into tears. And even tho he’d only just left, I missed him desperately. And for the duration of his camp, i texted him, called. And called. And I couldnt sleep properly. And I remembered that the last time i took him somewhere and then cried was the first day i took him to school by himself. And Im looking ahead to the future and i dont know how i shall possibly farewell him when he one day, leaves to go to University. Or to serve a mission in some horrible land…

I know we have to ‘let them go’ and they have to ‘move onward, upward and outward’…but Im sure as heck not ready for any letting go. This year he will be sixteen. He stopped being a boy a long time ago. He’s a young man. Taller than me.Far more patient than me.(and sometimes funnier. But only sometimes!) He can do things on the computer that Im still trying to figure out. He can cook and clean. And he knows how to make me laugh. And how to make his baby sister stop crying. He can give speeches without batting an eye. And debate fiercely. He’s read more books than his entire class put together. He’s the apple of his rotten little brother’s eye. And im awfully proud of him.

But i wish he wasnt growing up so fast. To me he’s still the 3 pound scrawny wizened little boy delivered at 7 months and then incubated for another. The boy who first showed me what sleep deprivation really means. And what a two year old tantrum looks like. And what it feels like to wish you could endure anothers pain for them. He introduced me to joy. Chocolate chip cookie covered kisses and muddy grass stained hugs. And telling me he never ever wanted to grow up cos he wanted to be my little boy FOREVER. He was the first child to teach me how to be a mother. And boy did I make a lot of mistakes – he was the guinea pig who suffered through my many disastrous attempts to get it right. Like the historically perfect Hercules-toga costume I made him wear to a Halloween party when he was 5 – complete with handcrafted sword and shield..only to arrive and find that all the other kids were just wearing superman t shirts…and he looked like a wussie weirdo and he felt like one too. Or his first birthday party that we invited 50 people to and I spent days cooking and stressing and yelling at him so it could be perfect…and everything looked great but he was miserable and so was I…NEVER AGAIN! Or the times we would do YR 1 homework together…”We are not leaving this table until you get it right you hear me! No child of mine is going to tell me he cant understand Einsteins theory of relativity!” Or getting him ready for church back in those early days…”We are all going to get to church on time if it kills us – and we’re going to be happy about it you hear me!”

This child has weathered my mental -ness…my various developmental phases…the “I dont want to be a mother i want to be a fun-loving party girl forever” phase…and the “Im very busy saving the world so can you please stop bothering me for a few months I mean minutes?!” phase… Yes, this son of mine has guided me through the minefield of early motherhood. And watched me fall flat on my face with inestimable patience, love and faith. Faith in my potential to get it right. He paved the way so I could be a little better the next four times round.

I want to thank him for holding my hand and seeing me through. And i want to tell him though, that Im still not ready for the next step. For him to let me go. I need him to hold my hand just a teensie bit longer…

1 thought on “He introduced me to Joy”

  1. I so love this piece Lani….. cried a few tears while reading it. My eldest son is yet to turn 5 years old this December but already I am feeling the pain of letting him free in the next 15 years or so…. Keep writing Lani!! 🙂 You inspire me with ya funny, amazing and emotional writings! Keep it up!! 🙂

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