I left home at 19, practically running out the door. A few years later, when my Mum expressed how I had shattered her life when I moved out (keep in mind that I returned every Sunday night for family dinner), I responded with, “Mum, I’m not responsible for your happiness.”
True, yes. Callous, yes. Arrogant, definitely. I have read a fellow bloggist’s post on gratitude and I am reminded of my lack of gratitude. I have been feeling so sad at my son’s moving away from home I have been focussed on my sorrows instead of my sparkles. You need gratitude for sparkles.
This week they turned up, unannounced, and have stayed a few nights. A bit of notice would’ve been good but lovely to have them. I have had an handful of texts since he left and have been doing my best not to mind (while minding furiously all the while).
Last night I asked him why he was not calling me Mum any more. He responded that I was only his foster mother and he wanted to call his real mum, Mum. I have had care of that boy, worked my life around him for ten years. His mum died three years ago but had given him up for alcohol when he was six. I told him my feelings were hurt. He was angry with me.
And I have been feeling sorry for myself.
Now I am remembering how my Mum felt as I broke away and expressed my new found sense of separation and adult hood. I am reminded of my youthful callousness and arrogance. I am grateful for the reminder.
I am grateful to have had that little boy, all stick arms and legs, who flew into my arms his first night in my house for a cuddle.
I am grateful for learning all I had to about Autism to make his life better.
I am grateful for the experience of going into battle for him as it made me more assertive.
I am grateful for all I learnt when I taught storytelling at his school and worked with the deaf children there.
I am grateful that I got to fight for what he wanted and not have adult decisions imposed upon him.
I am grateful that I learnt to be a great mum for him.
I am grateful that he called me Mum for so long because it soothed my heart.
I am grateful that we got through the phase when he thought shoving his fist in my face was the way to get what he wanted.
I am grateful that I got to see him through to completing high school and the big effort it was. I really learnt about sticking by someone and what it means to complete something.
I am grateful that he feels strong enough to venture out into the world.
I will focus on my memories until my sorrow eases. Gratitude offers sparkles. I need a few sparkles. I will send my Mum some sparkles for Mothers’ Day. Her happiness may not be my job but I can certainly light up her life.
(c) CLHHarper 2 May 2014