Last week I tripped and fell while running. Okay, let’s be honest, it was a slow jog. Anyway, I ran on a path that I regularly run on. I’ve run on this path for several years. I’m familiar with this path. Most mornings I turn on a podcast before pushing start on my app that tracks my kilometres. I run down the empty road with traffic lights still flashing red towards the path. It’s an old railroad track that the city has turned into a really nice walk/run/bike path. It’s lined with trees and flowering bushes. About a fourth of the way into my run, I cross a bridge that opens to a view of the mountains. It’s gorgeous and honestly one of the reasons I get up so early to run.
That morning though, I remember turning around to head back. I was laughing at something the host of the podcast had said when my foot caught on something and I stumbled and crashed to the ground.
How did I get here?
I stood up and looked at my knees. No scratches. I couldn’t believe my luck.
I took several steps. No twisted ankles. Wow, this is amazing!
All seemed good.
A throb came from my right hand.
A quick look revealed the source of the pain: a thick slice of skin between two fingers ripped off.
I squeezed my hand into a fist and jogged home – hoping I didn’t have too much blood running down my arm.
The next day I ran again and stopped where I had fallen. The section where I had tripped had changed. It went from a smooth path to slats of wood before changing back to the smooth path.
My son leaves for university in a few weeks. I feel like my life resembles that path. I’ve been mom to this kid for over 18 years now. I’m familiar with mothering – but it’s changing. This transition feels like those slats of wood. It’s uneven. It’s loud. It’s not comfortable.
- It’s uneven – Just as the boards are not evenly spaced, parenting during a transition isn’t either. It’s an awkward dance of letting him become an adult and still have some control. It’s knowing when to let him make his own decisions and mistakes. It’s more about coaching him and less about obedience. I’ve noticed this change in parenting a few years ago.
- It’s loud – I feel like I’m a stomping elephant when I run over the slats of wood. That is why I run on the smooth bike path. It’s also loud in my head during this transition of parenting. The freak out voice seems to be shouting out all my fears and concerns, while the rational voice tells me that he is growing up and his decisions are not terrible. Maybe not the ones I would have made, but they are not going to ruin him. I’m reminded that I am now a coach and can only advise, but he needs to make decisions.
- It’s uncomfortable – The uneven boards and the loud pounding make me feel uncomfortable – but I keep going as I know it is the right thing for me to do. Exercise. And just as this time of parenting feels uncomfortable with the uneven and loud feelings, it is right. He is growing up and needs to become his own person.
Transition is like that isn’t it? It feels uneven, loud and uncomfortable, but before you know it the path smooths back out and you are back to feeling normal.
So, here’s to making memories, watching him build his RAFT, and being attentive to my path as I finish this transition from mothering a kid to mothering an adult.