Wednesday, May 4, 2011
"The only relationship that can make both [people] happy is one in which sentimentality has no place and neither [person] makes any claim on the life and freedom of the other. "
I had a bit of a shock today. When I went to tell my kids it was time to get their shoes on to go to school, my older son was nowhere to be found.
Not in the house. Not in the yard. Not down the street. Gone.
His backpack and shoes were gone as well so I had a pretty good idea where he was, but still it gave me pause.
In the past week or so my older son has begun to want to walk to school on his own. He doesn't want to wait for me or our "walking bus" to be ready to go. He wants to leave on his own time and walk by himself.
A couple of years ago this would have freaked me out, but he has matured a lot and so have I. I have also read, "Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy so I know that a lot of my fears are unfounded. Still.
I have the somewhat irrational fear that if my kids are out of my sight they are not safe. On one level, I know this is not true, but on another level I am not so sure.
When I called my husband to tell him about the incident (after I drove to school to confirm that, yes, he had made it there and gave him "the talk" about letting me know when he was leaving the house), he was very sympathetic....with my son.
He has always thought that I am too cautious, too worried, too.....safe. That the boys need more room, more independence, more FREEDOM than I give them.
We talked about it a little bit and I found myself getting really upset. Feeling like men (and boys) don't care about women, about our needs for communication and checking in, that they just want to go off and leave us in the dust, hunt some elk and come home when they damn well please.
My husband confirmed that this was pretty much so. BUT, he said, the important part is that they DO come home and that they WANT to.
So I have been thinking about freedom today. What it means, how much I want, how much I can give to the men in my household.
The idea of everyone coming and going without any communication is frightening to me. It's anarchy and that just doesn't feel like a family to me. But perhaps we are in need of some adjusting of expectations.
For the past nine years I have done everything for my kids. Made their meals, changed their diapers, washed their clothes, picked up after them. I have been feeling lately like they need to take more responsibility for their things and their bodies and their lives, so it only make sense that as I ask more of them, they ask me for more too. More freedom. Of movement, of control, of decision-making.
It's an intricate dance we are all doing together, this dance of freedom. Always trying to decide what is too much, what is too little and what is just enough.
I have to admit I do like the feeling of TOTAL FREEDOM. I got a taste of that when I was in Paris a few weeks ago. Just being able to go and do completely on my own time was something I had not experienced in a long time. It felt great and I want that for my kids and for my husband and for my family. BUT...
There is such a strong pull towards being in control, being in charge, being "the one" who is doing it all, holding this whole thing together, that it is hard to let go and just let everyone be. Be themselves. Be who they are. Be in each moment with total freedom.
For the past nine years that has not been possible. For me. For them. For us. But now freedom is looming and I am not quite sure how I feel about it.