By: Sue Anganes
While at a doctor’s office visit this week with my seventeen year old son, I made the statement to the doctor in conversation, “when he was a kid…” She kind of laughed and said, “But isn’t he still a kid?” The comment took me a little by surprise because I no longer consider him a kid. I haven’t in a long time.
I think when all of my four sons turned about the age of fourteen I had the mindset to allow them to cross over. What I mean by that is that I allowed them to cross over from under the protective wing of “mom” to making their own decisions as young men.
It’s not easy as a mom to let go of things that we hold dearly close to us. Our sons are one of those things. I had to learn to allow my boys to move forward at their own pace and discover who and what they wanted to be in life. There were many times I was fearful for their well being but I forced myself to let go. When my oldest son was a teen he took flight lessons. I watched weekly from the tarmac as he took off and landed his plane. On the day that he flew solo and navigated alone to airports in Maine, Connecticut, and then back again to New Hampshire, I had to set aside all my motherly fears and let him soar. It was so very hard for me, but if I had squelched his goal because of my fears, I would not have helped him move forward in life. As it was, he obtained his pilot’s license before he obtained his driver’s license.
There were many other situations where I had to sit back and allow my boys to cross over the bridge from childhood to manhood. Most situations in my case always seemed to involve the possibility of physical harm. Here are a few things that I had to consciously tell myself to step back from, so as to allow my boys to move forward: helping with roofing projects, cutting down trees, chopping wood, driving a car, backpacking trips, mission trips to foreign countries, cycling long distances, finding jobs, and dating.
Does stepping back mean I don’t parent anymore? Certainly not! I tell my boys with a twinkle in my eye, “I’ll always be your mother!” I will never hesitate to speak up and guide them if I feel they are going down the wrong path in life, or if I feel they are doing something foolish. I will not, however, let my fears hold them back from moving forward as young men.