The mother son relationship – is there any other bond so painful? I don’t know about daughters – I never had any. But sons? Oh yes – I know about those.
There is an old rhyme:
A daughter is a daughter for all of your life
A son is a son ’til he takes a wife.
Those two simple lines are so loaded they are lethal. And in my experience they are true.
I have two sons in their early thirties. They are both married with young sons of their own. They both live over 2 hours drive away. They both have extremely busy lives.
Each of my sons fell in love with decent, intelligent, beautiful, well-educated girls who are turning out to be brilliant mothers. My boys chose well.
So what is the problem? It has taken me a long time to catch on, but I am now ‘the other woman’. You know the scene – the woman who waits in vague hope of enjoying the company of a man she loves but who is not hers.
Except honey, he was mine first.
You see that little boy on your lap? The one who is cooing and gurgling back at you? The one who makes you feel as if your heart will burst with love? He isn’t yours. Know that. He came through you and he is of you but…he still ain’t yours. You’ll see.
For every mother who has a son, you need to face one thing – one day he will leave you for another. Hard to believe that when they gaze adoringly into your eyes, nuzzle at your beast and play with your hair as it brushes their velvety cheeks.
No one told me that one day, all that delicious love, that unbreakable mother and baby bond would gradually morph with the passing years into a painful and futile longing for my sons to look my way once in a while. Not just at me but at the rapidly ageing extended family who loved them so much when they were little.
No one told me that girls come along and kidnap boys, taking them home to their families who will probably benefit far more from the fine young men we raised than we will.
No one told me girls grow into women who steal our babies and keep them so busy, they can hardly find the time for us any more.
If you are still a mum with boys at home, enjoy them all you can because soon they will be gone. And although they may come back, as the years pass and responsibilities grow, their visits will get less and less frequent.
When they do come, you will be expected to provide a clean room with fresh bedding they may use for only one night. And while they are here, don’t make any ridiculous plans for you all to visit elderly relatives who may not be here next time they come.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment because although your daughter-in-law and her family have your son to themselves all the time, she may well have made plans to use some of your precious, much-anticipated 48 hours, for them to socialise with friends who happen to live in the area.
And if you even try to protest, you will be met with hostility, excuses and a total lack of understanding of their own selfishness.
But that’s ok – one day they will get it. Oh boy will they get it.
The irony is this, the example that is set to the children in how grandparents are treated is exactly what comes back to haunt their mothers one day. They too will long for their sons when their arms and homes are finally empty.
And before anyone tells me I should count myself lucky that I am not one of those mothers who lost a son – I already know that. My pain may be nothing like the pain of a woman who lost a son forever but it is still a pain and sometimes, it does help to rant. I prefer that to crying.
I have many friends with grown-up sons and they all say the same thing – they lost them when they got married.
The mother son relationship – the most bittersweet bond I have ever known.