Today Jayne Kearney wrote a thoughtful post regarding her feelings as her daughter starts to find new friendships. It is a really honest and beautiful read.
I read this post thinking it would not resonate with me because 1. my boys are teenagers and 2. I don’t have girls. I was wrong. Very wrong. This post gave me a lot to think about. It reminded me how I felt when my boys were young and loved me more than any other woman on earth and how the thought of this not being the case made me feel.
It reminded me how I felt when my ex husband found a new woman a few months after I left him. It reminded me how he and his parents tried to make her their “new” mother. My heart broke in two so many times. Prior to leaving him, my children had never spent a night away from me. Now, 50% of the time, they lived with their father, and this other woman. My little boys were 5 and 7.
I made this choice. I had to suck it up and live with it. Ultimately I knew I had made the right decision. That’s not to say I didn’t question myself. Often.
A particularly sad moment that has been forever burned into my mind, is the day I went to watch soccer on my “no children” weekend. I just needed to see my babies. They were all together as a family and she was cuddling them and acting like their mum. They only let the boys come over to say hello to me for a brief moment before they called them back. My boys happily ran back into her arms. I felt at that moment that I had lost the two most precious people in my life. I didn’t even wait until I reached the car before I started sobbing. I drove home barely being able to see the road in front of me. I don’t think I really cared whether or not I made it home.
This was the most heartbreaking and soul shattering experience I have ever felt, far worse than anything else I have faced in my life.
I spent the remainder of that weekend crying and alone. My heart was truly broken. On Monday afternoon my boys came back to me and nothing had changed for them. They were the same as when they left. I, however, had been changed, and as a mum, I would never feel the same again.
Fast forward 10 years … my boys and I are extremely close and they live with me 90% of the time and have done so for the past few years. Despite there being many moments where my heart broke, I eventually learned over this time that I am, and will only ever be, the one person they call mum. Despite the many attempts to change this fact, my boys love me for who I am and what I stand for and nothing will ever change that.
A key moment where I knew that my boys weren’t lost to me was about 5 years ago when my now fiance and I moved in together. My boys were adamant we didn’t get married. When I eventually got them to tell me why, the reason both astounded me and filled me with elation. They said that if I marry Mike my surname would change. Their dad and his partner would marry and her surname would become the same as theirs. People would then think that I wasn’t their mother and she was. I had never thought of this. It was devastating for them to have this happen. That’s when I knew, that if you are a loving mother, no one can ever take your place, no matter what.
I survived that dreadful period of my life and I know the bond between my boys and I is so strong that nothing will ever break it. Ever.
I used to wonder if I would be jealous of their girlfriends, and perhaps had I not been through the experience of feeling like I’d lost them, I might have. I’ve loved their girlfriends. I’ve loved having girls in the house. I’ve loved watching my boys fall in love and treat their girlfriends like princesses (I especially love that).
What I haven’t loved is when they break up. I feel their heartbreak. I want to take their hearts and put them back to together. The pain is immense for me as their mother. I feel it for them. I feel it for their girlfriends. I cry their tears.
The good news is, the pain is shortlived. They get over these heartbreaks quicker than I do. I’m still mourning the loss of a girl I liked and they bring me home another to fall in love with. I’m not sure I am cut out for teenage love.
The one thing I’ve learned over my life is that my children will love other people and will at times love that other person more intensely than me. That’s how it’s meant to be. Underpinning everything is a love that will always be there. I am their comfort place. I am the hug that will always be waiting for them. I am the constant, undying, unwavering love that will be there to support them no matter what life has in store for them. No. Matter. What.