From the moment your kids are born, you prepare for the moment when they will leave you. You want them to be independent adults – especially through that awful first year when you feel like your life is over and all you are is a large, flabby, sleep-deprived, milk-delivery system with nipples that are about to fall off.
When it happens however and you realise you are at the end of your journey with them, it’s quite hard.
I had no idea it would be this tough.
I think it’s compounded by the fact that I feel robbed of so many school experiences because of the two years of covid. If I had liked the Lastborn’s school less, it would’ve been more helpful, but alas, we have loved her school so much that it is a wrench.
I ordered school lunch for the last time at the beginning of last week and had a little blub whilst I did it, I saw other mothers mentioning the same feelings as they made the last lunch for their kids. Last Friday, we had the Lastborn’s valedictory assembly where she won an obscene amount of prizes.
- The Husband: is this really our kid?
- Me: I do recall giving birth to her so yes…yes, I do believe she is.
I’m not sure who cried more, she or I or perhaps even the husband who comes from a long line of blubbers.
The assembly was followed by a fantastic brunch where we were given a lovely breakfast and possibly rather too much champagne for someone who is supposed to be following a sober curious journey. We were also serenaded by a wonderful band, https://www.themorningafter.co.za/ I highly recommend them for any party/wedding/corporate event.
We did the flowers for the brunch on the previous evening (it took four hours and reminded me of why I am never going into event management). What was lovely though is that we picked roses from Granny’s rose bush for the event. Let me explain. When my MIL, Luce passed away at the horribly young age of 64, my brother and SIL gave us a beautiful rose bush to plant in our garden to remind us of her. We took pictures of the Lastborn standing by Granny’s roses and I wore Luce’s ring because she would’ve loved this event and I always take her along with me to events I feel like she would’ve enjoyed.
After the brunch, I rushed home because I had six scripts to finish editing and found that the power was still out. Tralalala. Thanks to Croft & Co, I was able to finish the damn scripts and was only a couple of hours late for my next engagement, a friend’s dinner party at a new restaurant I have never been to called The Wild Side. It was the same crew that had been at the brunch, but because of Covid, we haven’t really had a chance to get to know each other.
- Me *dramatically*: we need to enjoy this moment because we may never see each other again after this.
- New friend: I will see you at the kids’ art exhibition in two weeks’ time.
It is a relief that there will still be these moments because the statistic that you will have spent 95% of the time you will ever spend with your kids by the time they’re 18 has not been helpful. I think I saw this useful nugget of information on Tiktok (possibly whilst I should’ve been writing).
“Who am I without my kids?” I have been saying this a lot lately.
Rather dramatic I know considering I have about four jobs, but I do feel at a bit of a loss, because so much of what I do revolves around my children. Yes, yes, obvs I will run off and write a book about being an empty nester, just like I wrote a book about how tough those first few years of motherhood are. But not even ‘everything is copy’ can comfort me at this point because I am just sad that this crazy, intense journey is coming to an end. As I sat with my daughter at the hospital a couple of weeks ago, I kept thinking “Who is going to do this for her when she’s away at university?”
I do think our kids leaving is a horrible reminder of our mortality, that we are going into the last act of our lives and perhaps that just compounds our sadness. If I’m honest, motherhood has shown me flames, I was a person who thought I had the answers, who thought I could research childbirth and babies and then apply my research to my new role of Being A Mother. As if it were an Honours’ thesis or similar.
My kids have been my greatest teachers, and no doubt, the lessons will keep coming. Also, it’s not a course I have particularly excelled at, but Winnicott’s theory of good enough parenting that I learnt 30 odd years ago in psych 1 has been of great comfort to me. I keep showing up and trying and I think that’s what probably matters at the end. That we keep trying to do the absolute best that we can. Not being Mother of the Year has also taught me compassion for my own parents whom I now realise did the best that they could.
We went to see the new George Clooney/Julia Roberts movie at fave spot, Cinema Nouveau, Rosebank Mall. Alas, Marian Keyes was right (obvs) and it is complete mindless schlock and not even in a good way. However, it was fun to get out. I did try watch the Jeffrey Dahmer doccie on Netflix, I have read extensively about him but I found the series too stomach churning and I couldn’t carry on with it.
Which brings me to book recommendations. I finished Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Amazingly good and she employs quite a light touch with the abuse so that you never find you cannot carry on with the book (Netflix doccie take note). I did however badly want something horrible to happen to the father character.
Me to the Lastborn: that father is a DICK! Write that in your essay! He’s a dick who deserved to have his dick chopped off. With a blunt butter knife.
This is the extent of my literary analysis.
Don’t forget that I am interviewing Eva Mazza next week on Tuesday night at Exclusive Books Rosebank Mall about Sex, Lies & Alibis. If you’re an organised person who’s already buying Christmas pressies, remember that signed books really do make the best gifts. So come along, buy a copy for yourself and one for a friend – in fact, just buy the entire trilogy! If you are joining us, don’t forget to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there.
Wishing all the matrics who are starting to write exams the best of luck – and strength to all parents and guardians. Happy reading! xxx