When I said I love you, my daughter replied, “Yeah, and I have a yellow car.” She said this at age 3, yet it was still a typical response throughout most of her childhood.
My children pulled away from me when they went through middle school. I knew it was a normal part of growing up, but it still broke my heart a little. I wasn’t that kind of mom who cried at the bus stop on the first day of kindergarten, but I still wanted my kids close. Their friends were already more important than their family, well, at least more important than me.
I wondered how much I’d be in their lives as adults. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked my sons. They responded with blank stares, murmurs, and hunched shoulders.
Taking a different tact, I asked “Where would you like to live?” I got a response that fit their different personalities. Tommy could live anywhere and everywhere as long as it was interesting. As long as Garry was warm, comfortable, and had plenty to eat he didn’t care where he lived.
Then I asked Kay, “Would you like to live in our town or on our street as a grownup?” I thought she’d still want to be near her mom since she was still young. Family members lived across the street from each other on one of our favorite TV shows.
She scrunched up her face in mild disapproval. I wasn’t sure if it was at me or because of where we lived. “Well…maybe across town. Maybe.” It was because of me, ouch. Now my independent daughter lives several hours away. I’m thrilled that at least I’m important enough that she takes my phone calls and replies to my texts.