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Saturday, 19 April 2008

A Mere Puff in the Ether

The lovely (and very helpful) comments from fellow bloggers has prompted this post. I thank them all for reading my previous post and taking their time to offer words of wisdom and their own personal thoughts and experiences.

Reading through the comments this morning really made me think. Has Denise hit the nail right on the head when she talks about women being more independent than men? I think so.This tendency can't happen by accident, though, can it? Could it be that, as mothers of girls, we instinctively and sub-consciously prepare them for the huge weight of responsibility as future mothers themselves one day?

I can remember quite clearly the different 'feeling' of being a mother to a girl as opposed to how it felt to have boys. Both my boys were more loving, more clingy, less outgoing and less confident than their sister at a similar age throughout their childhood and adolescence. But did I make them that way - and did I somehow force my daughter's more independent nature without knowing it?

Karen says that her teenage children evoke an uncomfortable sense of ageing in herself. I remember feeling exactly like this about ten years ago when my daughter was about 18, my eldest son 16 and Technoson was 10. I can remember clinging to the sense of relief that at least I still had a young child as well as fledgling adults, and that relief seemed to balance out the relentless canter towards becoming my mother.

Lane always posts such lovely comments. She thinks I'll be a good mother-in-law. My son-in-law is a gem. I love him to bits and I know he's fond of me too, despite the leg-pulling and jokes! BUT ... and it's a big 'but' .... will my daughter-in-law-to-be feel the same? Or will I come across as an interfering old bag? I think I'll have to learn a new set of rules, because my son-in-law doesn't bat an eyelid when I pick up toys, or make myself a coffee in his house, and yet I think, had Rob's mum been a 'normal' mum, I would have resented it had she done this in my house. (I know my son-in-law doesn't mind because I asked him once. He just laughed at me and told me there was a pile of ironing in the back bedroom, too!)

Tomfoolery says she's not worldy or wise, but underneath the cheery, fun-loving blog I know there lies a very clever, wise and perceptive lady. I'd love to hear her words of wisdom on this one!

Helen's gone all soppy with her 'aaahh!' I didn't feel very soppy or benevolent about five months ago when I angrily confronted Technoson and The-Girl-I-Didn't-Know dressed in his dressing gown at 11.00 am in the morning. Was my reaction just a sign of the times? Has sex really become the new snog 'n' grope? Am I just as old-fashioned as I perceived my parents to be back in the 1970s?

Debs has given me an enormous amount of comfort. Her two husbands still love their mums! My husband has never been close to his mum, and neither have I, so I've no comparisons to make to ease my fears. Thanks Debs, for that!

Mother X is one of Blogland's most devoted mums. Anyone who reads her blog will know that. All I can say is that I wish with all my heart that one day her sons will learn to live independent, fulfilling lives and perhaps find someone to fall in love with. How will she feel though, steering them along the rocky road towards independence? My fears about losing my son to another woman are mere puffs in the ether in comparison and I feel humbled.

Quillers married at 19. So did I. So did lots of my friends. It was quite usual in the 1960s and 1970s to marry young. The divorce rate is much the same as for older age groups. Another thing - I've always believed age-gaps don't matter to those involved - it's other people sticking their noses in that matters. Quillers's marriage survived, and so did mine. If our children's marriages fail, there's nothing we can do about it but be there to support them. There's an army of first wives out there who all married at 19, so I'm not so much worried about them being young.

So, all things being equal, my main worry is about their future happiness in this dysfunctional topsy-turvy world, where greed reigns and sensibility falls, defeated, to its knees.

So let's all make a concerted effort to just be the very best parents we can to our adult children, giving support when it's asked for and keeping silent when it's not. The most we can do is to all work together, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to make a better world for them and for future generations.


Tom Foolery said...

There lies a very clever, wise and perceptive lady....

Holy Moses, Annie you've made me go all weepy. You've touched my sensitive soul :) Thank you
Great post.

Without further ado....

It's a well-known fact that Annie is a woman up for a wordy challenge. So get yourself over to my blog. I need your help! TFx

Lane said...

Lovely post Annie.
Technoson's marriage has the same chance as anyone else's of failing or succeeding. BUT... he and his fiance already have a bonus many people don't - a strong, grounded family that will support them whatever happens.

Auntie Annie, I'll be coming to you for advice when The Teenager starts discovering boys:-)

HelenMH said...

Very thought provoking. And I love the title of this post x

KAREN said...

Great post :o)

I think as our children get older, the best we can do is, as you said, give support when it's needed and know when to shut up!

What's struck me most over the years, is how all three of mine are completely different people, despite having had exactly the same parents/influences and upbringing. It's made me realise that their personalities must be determined at birth.

Debs said...

What a lovely thought-provoking post.

I think we can all strive to do our best for our children and those around us and show the best example that we can.

Mercedes. said...

Very thought provoking, Annie. As they say, knowing when to keep our mouths shut, as mothers, is the greatest ace we hold.