Love and Loss. Triumph and defeat. No matter our differences, there are common threads that bind us all together.
Being a parent is one of the great equalizers. No matter your circumstances, you’re always learning and adapting, often feeling like you’re falling behind and typically looking back on your own childhood with a deeper understanding.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, these shared experiences are now just that. Blogs, tweets, and posts to Facebook often remind us that what we all have in common far outweighs our differences. That was on full display recently in a post that has spread to the screens and hearts of folks around the world.
Writer Mia Freedman shared an emotional look at what it’s like for a mother to raise a son. After watching the movie “The Otherhood” on Netflix, a film billed as a comedy, she was especially moved by a single quote. “Being the mother of a son is like someone breaking up with you really slowly.”
The quote evokes strong emotions, and rightfully so, but as Freedman notes, getting them to grow up and move out is kind of the whole point. “And if they do – when they do – it means we got it right. We parented them right. Whether you have sons or daughters, our role as parents is ultimately to make ourselves redundant and while I don’t know what it’s like to be the parent of an adult woman, I know what it’s like to stumble as my son became a man.”
For many parents, Freedman included, the phrase “they grow up so fast” only finally lands long after they’ve really grown.
“There are so many batshit crazy things about being a parent and one that definitely wasn’t in the brochure is the way you don’t actually parent one person, you parent many, many different people who are all your child. There’s the newborn, the baby, the toddler, the pre-schooler, the primary aged kid, the pre-teen, the adolescent, the full-blown teen, the young adult and then the adult. They all answer to the same name. They all call you Mum. And you never ever notice the inflection point where one of those people turns into the next.”
While Freedman calls it “soft grief” in comparison to any parent who has lost a child, she says the “feeling of living loss is very strange and hard to process.”
Although it can be bittersweet, she ended her post with a few positives.
“Hopefully, at some stage, you get to watch them fall in love and see them loved in return and I’m not sure how to even describe the joy that infuses into my soul. You get to see what kind of drunk they are (my son is a sleepy one). They can drive you places and get things off high shelves for you. Also lift things that are heavy.”
You can read her full story here.
Additional, you can watch Australian radio personality Amanda Heller breakdown while reading it live on air.
This story and so many others, a reminder to savor each moment as they come and focus on the things that unite us, not those that divide.
Also, a reminder to buy more tissues.