The better half and I have a secret retirement plan. We hope to travel, see more things, rock on a deck somewhere together. Those are the obvious things.
The secret part of our plan, to our daughter anyway, is that we plan to follow her whenever she goes. I know that sounds a little creepy or stalkerish, but it’s just us, wanting to be there for our monkey. The better half and I both agree that if our daughter moves to a different city than we live in, we will move there, too.
It’s not that when she’s a teenager we will trail behind her car when she’s on dates (well, actually, I can’t speak for the better half on that one), and I certainly don’t want to smother her. I know already she enjoys her space and independence and I will give her that.
I just want to be there in case she needs a cup a sugar, some rent money, a hug or a shoulder to cry on. I want to be close enough that when she doesn’t need me any more, I will be there in case, on occasion, she does need me. It’s nice to be needed.
And that’s where I had my "ah-ha!" moment of motherhood, followed by mounds of guilt.
My mother has been good at giving me my space and not smothering me or injecting her opinion too often when I don’t want it. She has occasionally gotten upset with me for things. At the time I thought she was acting crazy about whatever the issue was.
A good example would be when I announced I was moving to Portage la Prairie to start my journalism career at the newspaper there. I was fresh out of college and couldn’t wait to get out on my own and live my new adult life.
My mother wasn’t happy. She was proud of me, definitely, but not happy.
From my perspective I was grown up, moving on, being my own person, and being productive in life. I totally didn’t get why she was upset. I thought she would be glad not to worry about me anymore.
Then there was another time I thought she was completely off her rocker.
I had jaw surgery in Winnipeg and I was living in Brandon at the time. My mother lived in Winnipeg and was expecting to nurse me back to health. I didn’t have any knowledge of this plan, and the better half, who was my new boyfriend at the time, picked me up from the hospital and drove me back to Brandon.
I remember calling my mother and telling her this on the way out of town. Boy, was she upset. And I didn’t get it. I honestly thought she lost her marbles.
Back to my "ah-ha" moment of motherhood.
The other night the monkey had gotten up to go to the bathroom after I had put her to bed and told me, "It’s OK, Mommy, I’ll just tuck myself back in."
"Are you sure?" I said. "It’s no trouble really, Mommy can tuck you back in."
But in her growing independence, she wants to do it herself. It’s not that she doesn’t want me to do it, but just that she wants to do it herself.
And now I get it. My mother is not crazy, she just misses being needed. It’s a nice feeling being needed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go hug my mom.
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week in the Community News.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 3, 2012