There’s always a time that comes when raising children that it becomes necessary to step to the side. We can only guide and set the pace for so long, then they begin to stretch themselves in and out of the comfortable and familiar places to see whats out there, what else is on offer. They begin this process of sifting and sorting through life’s offerings usually at a time when we believe they are most vulnerable. We are wanting to keep them close by, keep them securely tucked under our wings, keep them safe from all we know is out there. But the truth is, it’s necessary that they begin to know this for themselves. It’s necessary that we listen to what it is they are wanting and needing to do, at what ever age it presents itself, however hard at times it may be to hear. Our readiness as parents may not always line up with theirs. We must be able to step to the side, even if the words are hard to hear, even if we already know what the probability of the outcome will be. Even if we believe that their choice is not going to serve them well, it remains to be their choice. I have been learning to stand to the side of my children for some time now. Their choices are hard ones to hold at times, and it has become necessary to know when to keep quite and allow the sifting and sorting of their preferences to be that of their own. My children have been learning what works for them and what doesn’t from very young ages. At times its felt as though some of the lessons have been too hard, that they have been too young to be carrying such weights. Weights, that most of the time they have chosen for themselves. It’s not easy to stand to the side, in the deepest of love, and wait, wait to see if they will come back full circle. I’ve noticed, that most of the time they usually do, on most things. They begin somewhere with an idea of themselves and they want to see how it fits out there in the world. Then they play, explore, dream, fly and fall. And eventually, usually always they’ll end up somewhere where they first began. This is the beginning of their lives moving in circles, eventually everything always brings them home, back to themselves.
spending time with my boy has become a rare occasion now. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere in amongst the chaos i lost hold of him. it might have always been going to head down this path no matter what the circumstances were but i can’t help but think that the more recent moments of uncertainty in our lives played an important part in his decision to no longer live with us. Life for our family has been wonderfully hard over the years with so many dynamics to contend with, toddlers and teenagers, autism and more autism. I can imagine for a thirteen year old boy finding your place in amongst all that is almost impossible. He was lost, i could tell that much, surrounded by too many females, who all had something to say about his well-being and the directions he was taking. He didn’t have anyone to follow lead from, to really understand the depths of his own wanting and confusion in all of this. Everyone who he was supposed to matter to, was too caught up in being held captive to their own devastation and we failed him terribly. I failed him terribly. He was suffering and i was spread far too thin to keep grip of him. He wanted out, he needed out, so I surrendered and let him go. He is settled now, living with his father and for now it seems it’s what he wants and needs. For the first time in his life, he’s getting to know his dad, really know him, right down to the finer details of how he fits into life with him now. I understand that this is important for him to do, that to understand and know his father better will in time give him greater understanding for why things played out the way they did. It has been really hard stepping back, to not be the one who is guiding the way and gently maneuvering him back on track when he gets himself a little lost. I am having to detach, not from loving him, but from the responsibly of being the one who is going to show him the way. He, has chosen another for that role, now. As hard as this particular change has been to our tribe, it has unexpectedly brought with it a space for breathing. A space for me to completely let go of one of the heavy challenges i was carrying. It has allowed for things to slow down, for the constant rhapsody that was flowing between my two sons, to settle. It has allowed me the room to be more gentle on myself and more importantly more gentle on him. We are moving to a new dance now and it seems to be working better. Spending time together when it happens, is more earnest now. It takes on a level of importance that it always should have had. It’s possible that this time was always going to present itself at some stage in his life, where he would feel that he needed to go, but it came so much sooner than i was expecting. I am alright with it now, and even at times i am quietly thankful for his decision.