I CANNOT explain that every time I see my youngest son “Macoy,” I usually worry about time moving fast-moving. Even if I knew that time is the only constant in this world, I wish it were not. I guess I missed the eight-year-old Macoy, three years ago. I will never forget when we were in bed chatting, and then I asked him if you get married when you reach the right age, will he still watch even when I am asleep? And he said aloud, yes, Mama. And I believed my Macoy.
But starting last year, I felt that he became distant every day. He no longer sleeps beside me. Even at times, I plead with him because I missed our chats and his embrace – he would tell me now, “Mama, Malaki na man ako.” And if before, he would enjoy doing physical exercise with me upon waking up in the morning, he would opt to play internet games. I see that Macoy is now beginning to enjoy doing things independently without me. And now I start to feel that emptiness I used to experience when “Bea,” my eldest daughter, reached eleven. She enjoys chatting with her friends rather than staying in my room like she used to.
And so last Monday is my Macoy’s birthday. Same in the past years, his Papa and I must prepare his favorite balloons, cake, and birthday present. I knew that he would be happy and surprised, and yes, I saw his joy. But when I asked to take a photo of him with the cake, I felt his reluctance. I heard him say “Makahiya na, mama, big na baya ako” but with a smile. I did not know why I felt pain, but I tried to hide my tears because I do not want to spoil the celebration.
And so, after we have our lunch together as a family, I look at Macoy and Bea. Again, I see how they are so happy, and this time we talk about mature topics -- relationships, politics, economics, etc. Gone are the stories about toys and their cries to join me even at work. God, I realized that I am feeling pain because I need to accept that our kids are growing up, and I cannot change the truth that they will have to move and have their own families in time too.
I am crying now -- I hope I will have the courage to condition myself to let go of our kids in time. Years from now, I will no longer hear them disagree about what milk tea to order online, teased each other about their crushes, and tell Papa and me about their dreams and hopes. Letting go is difficult for a marital or intimate relationship. Still, I must say it is much more difficult for the parents of their grown-up kids. Now I think it is no longer a question of our fear about what will happen to both of our kids if we are gone? But it is about what life is to offer us when our kids are already married and living separately to whom we consider them our source of life? So, I guess as parents, we need to learn this hurting truth. That the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to think for themselves, explore the world, and experience real-life on their terms. Letting go is hard - but it is the meaning of unconditional love. Also, let us all remember that to be in our children’s memories tomorrow, we need to be a part of their lives today.