I have a confession to make. I worry a lot about how my son will manage in the future. It is always in the back of my mind. It never leaves me. The constant worry about his future and what that looks like. Parents of neurotypical children may have ambitions for their child such as a certain career or have savings in the bank. My aspirations for my son are a lot more humble. I aspire for him to have a job, meet someone he can be happy with and possibly have a family of his own and of course be happy.

Knowing all of this, then why is it so hard for me to let him go. Why is it so hard for me to give him the space he needs to grow and develop. If my main goal for him is to flourish and be independent then why is it so hard for me as his mum to give him the freedom to be able to do so? Why does it feel so scary ?

My anxiety around my son is heightened. I know other parents have anxiety and worries about their children, isn’t that just part of being a mum? But with a child with special educational needs, those worries can seem intrusive and overwhelming. It keeps you awake at night. While the world is sleeping, your playing out scenarios in your head about your child’s future and what it may or may not look like. It can be a lonely and scary place to be.

My son is crying out for some independence .He is ready. But am i?.Its the little things. It’s allowing him the freedom to move off a little further around the lake with his friend on his scooter , so he’s out of my sight. It’s allowing him to wander off with his friend to look at the lifts while us mums sit and have a coffee at after the gym.

I have to show him I can trust his decisions. I have to give him the space so that he can make those decisions for himself and then show me that he is more than capable . The more I allow him the freedom to make some decisions , the easier it will be to trust him, but to be able to trust him I need to give him the space. I know what the answers are, we all do, but why is it so hard?

He has already shown me that i can trust him. When i do allow him to go a little further ahead, while walking round the lake, he actually stops and turns back to check I’m watching and that he can still see me. So what am i worried about ?

What am i afraid of ? What are we afraid of ? Is it that our beautiful children will be harmed in some way ? Is it that they will make a bad choice? Or is it more that we are worried about them not needing us as much?

Since the day they were born it has been all about them. They are are our world, they are the reason we get out of bed, they are our everything, it’s not surprising then that it might be hard for us to accept that as they grow, they may not need us quite as much.

Today while out eating lunch I caught myself just looking at him. I quite often catch myself just staring at him in awe. In these moments my heart is filled with pure love and admiration and it feels like it could burst. My son always knows what i am thinking in these moments as he gets a little shy and i ask him….

‘What is mummy thinking?” And his reply is always “That you love me mummy”.

From the day he was born, i have been his protector. I have tried to wrap him in my loving arms and keep him safe from the scary world outside. This nurturing has been ingrained in me. My son is like my shadow, he is a part of me, our bond is unbreakable (and I love that!). But cutting the apron strings is hard. He is so much a part of me that the other night when he was scouts and I was home alone, i found myself shouting upstairs “E### are you alright?”. This is proof of how much a part of my world he is, either that or i am losing the plot.

If my son wants to live with me forever, that is more than ok with me. I would be very happy! But… what i really want for him is a little independence. I will always be happy to cook his dinner and do his washing, but wouldn’t it be amazing if he could cook himself a little dinner and maybe make a cup of tea for his mum. He did actually say only the other day that he wants to make me a up of tea.

I remember one day he was waiting for me by the door with his coat and shoes on, to go to the park. As i was taking some time to get ready he impatiently said to me “ I’m going” .The next thing i hear is the slamming of the front door. My insides are doing somersaults. Frantically running after him, i open the door to find him peeping at me from behind the hedge at the bottom of the front garden. Ok maybe I didn’t need to panic so much!.

My little circle of trusted friends and my family are what get me through these scary transitions and with them by my side and the love in my heart, my boy and I will navigate these waters safely.

We need to reach out to each other. Family, friends and other mums. It’s important to talk about and embrace these fears. This is what I hope to achieve through my blog. I want it to be a space where people can come and visit and realise they are not alone and that we are all in this together.

I have realised to let my son grow i need to teach myself and rewire old habits. I have realised that in order for me to allow my son to flourish, i need to work on myself too.

One response to “Letting go, to let him grow.”

  1. Carole’Diane Pace Avatar
    Carole’Diane Pace

    Very good, valid article and questions Donna. All parents suffer the same agonising emotions, of letting go but never saying goodbye. We all have to learn to let our kids flourish and grow but more so when your child has special needs, it must be harder and more worrying. Kids need parents until they start to grow up, become independent, then drift away into the big wide world and then the parents need the kids when we grow old, but the bond never breaks, its just different. As the Lion King says, it’s “The Circle of Life” but fret not, letting go is not saying goodbye, its releasing them into the world to fly and follow their dreams for themselves whilst as parents, we stand proud we helped them to have the strength, courage and interest to do so and stand back and watch from a distance, but we will always need each other. The emotions are real, its hard to let go, but we grow together, change together and feel proud knowing we helped them to grow into strong, independent adults and thus the bond between parent and child becomes stronger. You’ll never lose that. No parent does. We never stop worrying about our kids no matter their age, but they are still our kids ❤️

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