This is the heart-wrenching irony of motherhood. Knowing that you have brought them up to be good human beings who can take care of themselves without your help is your biggest reward
"There's still so much time," I said when my baby boy grew too big for my lap.
"There's still so much time," I said when my little girl went off for her first day of school.
"There's still so much time," I said as they both gleefully went off to their first prom.
And one day, that "so much time" ran out completely and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Our children grow up so fast and we do everything in our power to give them the very best of things. But maybe the most bittersweet thing about motherhood is that you do everything for your kids. And then one day they won't need you anymore.
In one way, I know it's the right thing. I know that I've done a good job as a mother when I know that my kids will be fine without me. When I lay my head to rest at night, I'll always be thinking about them. But I'll know that I've taught them all that they need to know to take on the challenges of the world.
It's been a few months since my children moved out to begin their own lives and I couldn't be more proud of them. But sometimes when I sit alone, surrounded by their things, I can't help but miss them dearly. I found my daughter's football shoes under her bed and I beamed with joy, remembering how she ignored all the discouragements and insults she faced when she told people she wanted to play football.
There was one day she came home crying, saying how people made fun of her when she was on the field. And I told my girl there's nothing she can't do in this world if she sets her mind to it. I told her to stand up against the very people who insult her by showing just how talented she can be on the field. And the next day I took her to her game and she did just that. I cheered for her the loudest from the stands as she scored the winning goal. Ever since then, she never let anyone hold her back from the things she wanted to do.
The most joyous thing for a mother is knowing that my kids have the courage to chase after what they believe in. Just a few days ago I rummaged around the basement and found a box of my son's old drawings. Butterflies and flowers when he was 5, bricked houses placed along the river when he was 6, and drawings of him holding his grandpa's hand when he was 7. He would spend hours drawing in the company of his grandpa, but one of the most painful moments was after his grandpa passed away and he stopped drawing completely.
I stood strong for my kids on the day we lost grandpa. It was the day my children learned that life is unpredictable. But my son took so long to cope with the loss. I encouraged him to keep drawing and painting because I knew it was something he absolutely loved. But he refused. Years passed and I watched my kids grow up, doing everything I could to help them grow into mature and independent adults. There's one day I remember so vividly because it filled my heart with love.
It was a year ago when my son sat me down and said, "Mama, I want to join art school." And my heart leaped with joy.
Today, both my children are out there in the world doing the things they love. Yes, I know they don't need me anymore. But that's what makes me proud. I did my best as a mother and now they are doing their best.
There might be some problems that I couldn't prepare them for, there might be some hurtful moments that they don't tell me about. But at least I know they won't give up.
And they know that their mamma is always here when they need me.