I wrote this post a while ago and it expresses some really quite primitive emotions. I prevaricated for a while before publishing it as I wasn’t sure whether this sort of stuff, that is so excruciatingly personal and risks portraying me in a very bad light, should be in the public domain. But my blog is just that and this sort of thing is on here because I believe it reflects a common experience with which others might identify. Maybe if you have felt like this too, you will realise that it’s not just you. I hope you find that comforting.
Posts like this are hard to write and even harder to talk about with those whose good opinion I value. So if you’re of a squeamish disposition, you should look away now. Feel free to leave comments but I would ask you to keep any finger-wagging very much to yourself. It’s bad enough having to wrestle with my own mind without others joining in with the tussle. By the way, I’m feeling much better now.
The Boywonder has had a lovely evening, he assures me. In his pale blue Oxford shirt and cargo shorts, he happily recounts how much he has enjoyed the barbecue with the family of his new girlfriend and how everyone was kind, open and chatty. The mothers there knew everyone and joined in with the teenage conversations. I remind him that he would once have been mortified if I had dared to do the same. He good-naturedly agrees. He is happy.
I am silently grief-stricken. I cannot bring myself to look at him, and spend the journey home desperately trying to hide my contorted soul, trying to block the escape of my despair through my gaze. Why can’t I just be happy for him and share his happiness? It’s not even as if she is his first girlfriend. But this new relationship coincides with the first stretching of adolescent wings, as he takes the next step on his own great journey into adulthood. Will I ever become accustomed to sharing my boy, or am I doomed to screw myself up into this ball of guilt and hatefulness every time any other woman becomes close to him? Somehow, I shall have to find a way to deal with these terrible feelings and make myself into a better person.
For he is my boy. I carried him for almost ten months and suffered an difficult and traumatising birth, I struggled for months to love him, resentfully going through the motions of new motherhood only through heightened duty until one day I realised that my heart had at last bonded forever with his sunny disposition. I have poured my heart into this child, coached him, supported him, screamed at him, disciplined him, held him. I have fought the petty injustices, the bullying teachers, the cutthroat parents. I have wept with abject humiliation at disappointing behaviour and beamed with complete pride when he has shown off his unmistakeable talents. I have grounded him, cajoled him, banned him and done everything I could to bring him relatively intact to the verge of adulthood. And now I can’t bear to share him with anyone else outside our immediate family. And certainly not someone younger than me, prettier than me, talented, probably clever, with a bright future. The Boywonder tends to fall for statuesque, accomplished blondes, an affront in itself to his small, dark roundish mum.
If you love them, let them go. With any luck, they will come back because they want to. He is a young man now and must make his own way in the world. And I remind myself that his father and I started our relationship when I was almost exactly the same age as the Boywonder is now. I can see all of this. It is normal. The whole point of all of this this monumental effort of ours, this unconditional love is to mould a human who is happy, well-balanced and able to function well in this shark-infested world. And of course I wouldn’t want him to be without a soul mate of his own. But so soon? It racks me with pain that it is no longer me.