Relationships to last a lifetime

It’s the start of a new school year here in South Africa.  There are so many firsts happening every day and we love to celebrate and remember them.  How did you handle that first day when you dropped them off at school?  I was listening to radio during our early morning school run and I heard how the mothers and fathers struggled way more than the children with leaving them with their teachers for the first day.  Isn’t it so true?  Parents are the ones who want to hang on a little longer.

This year marks my son’s last year of school and I had a number of emotions flood through me when I drove away that morning. I had to swallow that lump in my throat when I realised that I’m starting the first of the lasts. When my children were toddlers, I remember reading a book about how we often miss the lasts.  We remember the ‘firsts’ but are sometimes not aware of the ‘lasts’.

Matt, Emily and myself (middle) on the first day of the new school year. I am now the shortest in the family.

It was the last ‘first day of school’ day of the year – and Matt said that it was just like the start of another term.  Oh my…being a mom is sometimes odd.  I remember the first day of grade one when Matt was so little, but I thought he looked so big. His school shorts were a tad too long and the socks reached up and to his knees. Now, when we take family photographs, Matt is towering over me. He smiles at me and laughs when I say, “Matt, please come give your mom a hug,”  He gives me that look that indicates that he knows it is his mother that is struggling a little with him growing up.

So, how do you feel about releasing your children a bit more every year?  It’s meant to be that way. No-one told me that when I had my children – at that moment of giving birth – that I would be given the gift of tears.  I never dawned on me that I would cry at celebrations and I would cry with them in their pain. And, that I would have to keep letting go.  Do you remember how close you felt to your children when they were infants? I love being a mother and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  My husband and I really value a growing, healthy relationship with them – it is such a great gift.

Grow your relationship with your children as they grow.

I don’t take our relationship with them for granted. We want to make sure that we build the connection and relationship with our children through every stage of growth. When they were babies and toddlers, I made sure that I nurtured them and that as they grew, my ‘yes’ was my ‘yes’, and my ‘no’ was my ‘no’. Boundaries are important and I made sure that they learnt to trust me in those early days. In the early school going stages my children need to know that I was there to teach them the things that they needed to learn to grow.  I can recall teaching them things like: learning to tie their shoelaces, to how to set a table, to how to be a good friend and how to complete some difficult maths.

Then, they moved into teenagers and I was the one who had to adapt my communication style with my children.  It was really hard initially.  I had to work at it and I had to let go in certain areas and they had to learn to bear the consequences for their actions.  Now, I make sure I do things to build that relationship with them that will last into adulthood.  I aim to build bridges that will last a lifetime. And of course, I love.  I love them now more than ever before!

Features photo courtesy of my friend, Daria.  Thank you Daria for the darling picture of your two boys.

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