Whatever your nationality, some things never change. What am I talking about? Well, my younger daughter is starting secondary school in September, and I feel like my baby isn’t a baby any more. And yes, it hurts. No more trips to the playground. No more dreams of becoming a princess. To make matters even worse, it looks like she wants to go to school by herself. In fact, it looks like she doesn’t need me any more. Or maybe she needs me in a different way. Let’s be honest here: it feels a bit like being made redundant as a mother.
Don’t get me wrong, I pride myself in trying to raise independent girls, and I am pleased with the way they have turned out. I am trying to convince myself that I did a good job here. That said, I sometimes wonder whether I have made the right choices. What if they disagree with the way we brought them up? For instance, they went to British schools, and hopefully they will end up in anglo-saxon universities. What if they would have preferred to settle in France? Being a parent is such a conundrum, right? You are bound do have done some things wrong. What if I was too strict? Did I give them some good boundaries? What sort of example did I set? I tried to give them the childhood I would have liked to have: carefree, full of love and travels. Did they enjoy it? Will they appreciate it, or will they resent it? I have no idea.
Life is really weird : when they were toddlers, I couldn’t wait for my children to grow up. Now that they are becoming more independent by the minute, of course I accept their changes -I don’t really have a choice. But I sometimes wonder if the pain of seeing them grow up is merely an echo of my own pain – the loss of childhood’s enchanted garden. Except that my childhood wasn’t that enchanted, come to think of it. So what’s wrong with me? Perhaps deep down I was still looking for this magical place, and by proxy I managed to have a glimpse of it. Now it’s gone for good.
So what now? I suppose that I will have to re-invent myself again. For the last fifteen years, being a mum has been an important part of my identity. It might be time for a change. Such is life, I suppose. Nothing can be taken for granted. Change, and also loss, cannot be escaped. Simply put, there is no other way. What’s the alternative? There is none: I can’t freeze my children in time.
I must admit that I will miss the cocoon of primary school. Parents are less involved at her new school, and I am sure that, in time, I will enjoy this new-found freedom. In the meantime, I feel a bit uneasy. But hey, onwards and upwards, as they say. Such is life!