– or – When Life Doesn’t Go The Way You’ve Planned.
I’m sure most of us dream about the future. Some call it day-dreaming, others think it’s a waste of time. I often sit and contemplate the future – what I would like it to be, and what I’d like to do. But life does’t always go to plan. At least not to the plan that we think should be.
When my children were young, I often wondered what they would do or be in their adult life. I wove amazing lives for and around them, not really expecting them to materialise. Then, as they grew to adults, I watched them spread their wings bit by bit, and at times I was a little disappointed in their actions, but then, they needed to find their own ways in this world. So I kept quiet and mentally created their lives for them, whilst I watched the real ones play out before me.
As a mother, you always want the best for your children. There are myriads of stories about amazing feats from mothers protecting their children, and most of us would do whatever to keep ours safe. But there comes a time in life when you have to let go, to watch them make mistakes and either pick themselves up and move on to the next, or retreat to lick their figurative wounds. When they don’t ask for your help, so you can’t give it. That can be a sad moment when you realise they’ve grown up and don’t really need you anymore.
Still, as a mother they will always be your babies until you die. Or at least thats what most of us know. Until life steps in and changes your beautifully made plans, and your child dies before you. Now that’s really unfair. It makes you want to scream at the unfairness of it all. It’s not supposed to happen that way.
I don’t know why we assume that this sort of thing only happens on the news, to other people and their children, as according to your dreams, it’s not going to be that way for your family. You expect some emotional times, like when they first go off to school. Or like the time we drove Matthew to Melbourne to wave him off on the bus as he set out on his first real solo adventure. I cried all the way home to Geelong after that one. Or the time we – Ross, Kelly Joshua and I drove Fiona to the station in Melbourne to wave goodbye to her as she set off on her journey to Queensland. I did’nt cry all the way home this time, but I certainly shed a lot of tears over that one too. But with that there was no time for self-indulgence as I had a toddler to look after again.
Kelly didn’t go off on any big adventures, she stayed around home, lulling us into a false sense of security as the changes in her were gradual.
Until she went completely off the rails.
Once again, as a mother you do everything possible to make things better, to right the wrong, but sadly it’s not always possible to fix like a scraped knee is with a bandaid.
Sometimes we have to tiptoe around our children as adults, keeping our mouth zipped lest we say the wrong thing and upset them further. But if we’ve done the job we were meant to do, we will have instilled our values in them as they were growing up. Then, we can only love them and wait to see if they remember the manners , or practice the compassion you taught.
I like to take time every now and then to reflect on the happy times we had, and there were many. Then mostly, I can look at my adult offspring and be proud at what they’ve done with their lives.
Then again, disappointment isn’t always restricted to your children – sometimes your life doesn’t go the way you’ve planned.