I visualise an invisible elastic thread connecting me to my son
Gradually I am loosening the hold I have on him
I am letting go as he reaches further out into the world.
The ache reminds me how incredibly difficult this is to do
His growing independence tugging at my heartstrings
A burst of pride he is growing up coupled with an inexplicable loss
As he reaches out to embrace life, his hands no longer permanently entwined in mine.
His need for mummy’s milk diminishing as so too does his need to have me always by his side.
My nurturing is decreasing as he wakes up to the delights the world has to offer him.
His gradual weaning the best way to instil security and self-esteem in him
A slow, mainly child-led process of letting go.
Yet it is a mourning process for me, his weaning from the breast, the family bed and the sling;
Physically craving his warmth and presence, his still baby smell, his smiles,
So pleased when he is happy without me, yet secretly wanting to turn back the clock.
O wonder, is this every mother’s burden?
For where has it all gone, I ask, as I watch over him sleeping soundly on our pillow,
These two and a half precious years.
As memories fall tumbling down around me like beautiful confetti
I pick up their delicate petals carefully and store them, for now,
Yet in time even they will fade and disintegrate, as all things must.
I press my face to his, feel his warm breath on my cheek, and choke on the wave of love I feel for him,
Desperate to bottle this moment up forever, and to stop time.
Yet next morning he is up, bouncing, full of life, enquiries, joy at living.
And I remind myself to look at life through his eyes, to see its wonders and delights
Alongside a strong mother who allows him to fly, when he is ready,
I know I must let him go, let the elastic continue to stretch to its limit.
For in this mother-child dyad I know the thread will never break
The connection will evolve as we all grow and change
Yet the connection will always exist.
And at times, even twenty years from now, the elastic will bounce back
When he needs me just as I need my own mother.