If only I could SAY the things I want to in the moments that I need to! Instead, I am quiet. I am less than enthusiastic as I watch our sweet boy packing up his clothes. More than an overnight bag I noticed this time. And his television too! That can only mean one thing… he is moving out and moving on.
My silence filled my head as it lay heavy on my pillow last night and my heart grew restless. I didn’t tell him what I was feeling at the time, which was “don’t go – I am not done with you yet!” I did muster the presence of mind to tell him I loved him though, so that is something. And as I laid awake with so many swirling thoughts, I had to remind myself many times that HIS journey is NOT about me. Ouch! Could my voice of reason be less snotty to me? HIS journey is about his growth and his life. So I quieted my thoughts and closed my eyes with a silent prayer to God to keep working in his heart and in his life, and to protect and provide for him always. With that comforting thought, I slipped off to dreamland.
In the clarity of the new day I realized the words I wanted to share with him, but it was too late and he was gone. I am not the best communicator. A far better thinker I am. But thinking traps the thoughts in your own head and some really should be shared. Not the “yep you do look fat in that outfit” moments, but you get the picture. Although HE wasn’t going to get the picture unless I reached out to him. An action, not a reaction.
The truth is that I am incredibly proud of the positive steps he has taken to repair and regain his life. He is developing a strong work ethic and is really proving that his childish behavior and selfish ways are a thIng of the past. He is stronger now and is equipped to move on with his life. But somehow that is all a bit challenging when you’re not the “real mom” in his life and those moments of acceptance and love are fewer and farther between than I would like. And now that I won’t get to see him as often, the moments may become even more scarce. But positive feedback is not something you should be stingy about and save only for special occasions. Today is special.
The following words filled my phone screen…
“It was so nice to see you last night. I was laying in bed thinking about how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown in the past year and I am so proud of you. As hard as it is to see you move out and not need us as much (because we all long to be needed) – I am also feeling so happy for you for your focus and accomplishments that have made you ready to stand on your own. Just wanted you to know how much I love you and how much you mean to me <3”
And I clicked send.
Blessings come in the strangest packaging sometimes, but the time he has spent with us over this past year of turmoil and transition has been such a gift to me. It has allowed me to recognize pieces of myself in him that I couldn’t see before. And in my far-too-critical mind, I have always felt like such a failure in my step-parenting approach, but amidst this short reply I know differently now.
“I love you too. Thank you very much.”