When my son was younger and just started going to elementary school, we made it a point that he shares with us his daily experiences in school. Over dinner, we would ask him what he did, what his teachers taught him, lessons he learned, new friends he met… We made him share with us the highlight of his day.
It was a good practice. There was always a lot of stories to tell. At times we have really long dinners because of stories shared and discussed. Some nights we focus on just the highlights. He talked, we listened.
And as he talked, we got to know him more. We got to know the person that he was becoming. As we gave him our own thoughts and ideas, hopefully, we also helped shape and mold him into being the best person he can be.
Young children tend to talk more. They can talk non-stop. Everything’s a highlight because every school activity seems to be interesting and exciting. As they get older, though, they begin to choose the things they want to share.
My son is now a senior in high school. On most nights I feel he would rather have dinner with his laptop than with me. When asked about the highlight of his day, sometimes I would get a grunt or rolling eyeballs.
But still there are nights when I get the full update — complete with videos and music from the laptop.
I have been a full time, hands on mom from Day 1.
When my son was much, much younger, my days were filled with his activities. I bring him to school each morning and pick him up in the afternoon. After class hours we go to his scheduled extra curricular activities. We had Kumon, piano lessons, art lessons, baseball training, etc. While he’s in school or doing after school activities, I make school reviewers for him to answer when he gets home.
Yes, I was that kind of mom. I was always there. I pushed. I hovered. My schedule pretty much revolved around his. If you asked me then what the highlight of my day was, most likely I’d say baseball training or game. Yeah, that and making gazillion reviewers.
I was busy. I was mother, teacher, tutor, personal assistant, nurse, cook, magician, and atm machine when needed.
To him I was mom. In my mind, I was Superwoman, out to save the day… everyday.
As he got older, of course he became more independent. That also meant he had less need of me. I can bring him to ball games and trainings, but I won’t even attempt to teach him higher maths.
But because of the good study habits instilled in him when he was younger, coupled with his genuine interest to learn something new and his drive to give his best no matter what, I am now confident that I can already loosen the rein and I know that he can do things on his own. And he has proven time and again that he is a responsible guy.
All of a sudden, I was left with time in my hands.
When my son entered high school and started needing me less, I was left with the question — Now, what do I do next?
I can’t be the uncool mom who hovers. I knew I had to find something different to do. I had to have my own schedule, my own personal activities.
And so I started writing again. I started writing regularly. I blogged. I even wrote a book.
I also became more involved in our baseball camp operations. I helped plan tournaments and games. I took care of the Camp’s finances and other administrative functions.
I had more time to have lunches and coffee meet ups with friends, too. And on really lazy days, I just lounge on the sofa in front of the tv and maybe watch the Kardashians (’til I feel my brain cells dying one by one).
My days became more about me — or the baseball camp, for that matter.
And yet I also know that at any point during the day, should my son holler “Mom!” for whatever reason, I know I will drop everything and come running.
Next year my son will be going off to college. Another season in our lives about to unfold. I am excited for him… I am also melancholic.
Since the plan is for him to study abroad, that would mean leaving the family home. That would also mean less dinners together. Can’t help but feel a tug in my heart.
But then I also know that for our children to really learn and grow, we have to let them go and allow them to experience life on their own. We can only pray that we have taught and equipped them enough so they can face the real world with courage and wisdom.
And we never stop being a parent whether our children are with us or faraway. I know for a fact that regardless of whatever hat I wear, or whatever title I may hold, I will always, always choose to be a mother first.
Believe it or not, whether he’s 8 or 18, listening to my son talk about the highlight of his day will always be the highlight of MY day.
photos are ALL mine!! ❤