When my boys were very young, I started a tradition of packing lunches and walking a Fontenelle Forest trail in Bellevue.
The trail led us through a canopy of trees, across railroad tracks and ended along a riverside where we would spread out a blanket and have a picnic. After eating, enjoying conversation and solving worldly issues, we would retrace our steps before collapsing exhausted back into our car and head home.
Several years passed, and the only thing that remained the same was the trail. My two boys matured and welcomed a little sister to the mix. The car became a minivan and the mom became less stressed (well, sort of).
Life was good.
But as the book “Love you forever” by Robert Munsch so eloquently describes, “That little boy grew. And he grew and he grew and he grew.”
And in my oldest’s son’s case, that little boy grew monster feet and an even bigger attitude.
On the trail, he complained he had a heat-induced headache, didn’t like the bugs, and couldn’t suffer another step. I threatened him that this would be the last time we’d invite him on the trek.
His response: “Good!”
His words hit me like a ton of bricks.
He’s stubborn like his father and thinks he’s right all the time like me.
So what’s a mom to do? I had to let go… to allow him to be him.
Besides, I still have two children who generally think the earth revolves around Mom. They enjoy doing activities with me.
But it’s still hard to swallow… He’s becoming a young man which gives me mixed emotions. I am both proud and mournful.
That day, he said, “I would rather be different than like everyone else.”
And I knew exactly what he meant.
I just wanted HIM to be like ME for a little while longer.
Is that too much to ask?
Heidi Woodard is married with three children. Read her Thursdays on momaha.com
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