To My Amazing Son As He Leaves for University
If only I’d known when you were a toddler and you let all of the other kids snatch whatever you were playing with right out of your hands, that you wouldn’t grow up to be a pushover.
What I know now is that you’re a giver. It makes you happy to share whatever you have with others. And you’re smart enough to know when someone’s taking advantage of you.
If only I’d known when you were in nursery school and you were the last to learn your phonic alphabet and the teacher refused to give you a reading book because ‘giving a child a book to read before they’re ready will put them off reading for life”, that you would go on to devour books and be so incredibly clever.
If only I’d known when you went through your “I can’t do it” stage (learning to zip your coat, tie your laces, ride a bike, flush the toilet in an airplane…), that you’d become someone who knows he can do absolutely anything he puts his mind to.
If only I’d known, in your first years of school when you wouldn’t leave my side at birthday parties because you were too shy and scared and the music was too loud, that you would go on to be the life of the party and a DJ!
If only I’d known, back when you were so uncertain of yourself and always asking others what they thought you should do, that you’d become a true leader – an elected member of Youth Parliament and a person who trusts his own judgements and a trusted advisor to others.
If only I’d known when you came into my life nearly 19 years ago at a hospital in West London that I would be sitting on a park bench, less than a mile from where you were born, typing this message to you into an app on my ‘smart phone’. (I’d have not known what that even meant!) And that you’d be at home with your girlfriend, helping you pack to move to university tomorrow to study International Relations – on your way to making the world a better place. I guess it’s time I accepted that no matter what, you’re always going to be okay. You’ll have your struggles and challenges, and you’ll overcome them, like you always have.
I couldn’t be more proud to be your mother.
Through my tears I somehow managed to type this and post on social media. It’s received a big reaction, especially from mothers with young children who appreciate the hope and perspective that hindsight provides. It’s now being shared across the internet, so I’ve quickly turned it into a blog post to make it easier to read and share.
As mothers we simply cannot help but feel worried / concerned about our kids at every stage. When these emotions are honoured in a healthy way, they prompt us to take action where action is needed – or to simply be there to love and support them through the inevitable challenges of growing up. Oh my god – it’s not easy!!! But when the day comes that they fly the nest and you can hand-on-your-heart-believe that you’ve done the best you could – there is no other feeling in the world like it. Get that vision clear in your mind now and know it to be true. 🙌🏼
I dedicate this to all mamas who are laying a firm foundations for their kids to go off into the world and make it a better place. You’re raising the future which is the hardest, most important and fulfilling job you’ll ever have.
In the comments below, share which stage of parenting you’re at and how good you are at keeping a balanced perspective when your child is having a challenging time.
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