Unwrapping The Cotton Wool

Yes I'm THAT mom

Yes I’m THAT mom

A year ago 1st K (my son) was a senior at primary school. He attended workshops in Town every Saturday during the school terms to fulfill his obligations as a junior scholar at the Kay Mason Foundation. I can’t tell you enough how I dreaded getting up some Saturdays to take him there either by bus or taxi if the hubster had to work. Which was most Saturdays. On the other hand it was also the best part of my week because I’d get some alone time with one of the main men in my life. I’ve got 3 of them by the way (even if you weren’t wondering). The hubster and my dad being the other two. The second reason why I’m happy for sacrificing Saturday morning lie-ins is that he was awarded a Kay Mason Foundation scholarship and has already had so many opportunities with them which includes meeting Kings of Chaos when they came to South Africa last year.

My girls (bless them) run the show in our home and 1st K is such a quiet soul that extended family members asked me on a few occasions if he ever speaks. He usually only greets and is so polite that he only speaks when spoken to, except for when it’s me. That boy has inherited all my sarcasm and his dry humour makes me think of the Irish at times. How I love the Irish and their humour. Saturdays was our bonding sessions and I am eternally grateful for that. He’s supposed to be in that “I-hate-the-world” and “parents-suck” phase right now if I’m not mistaken, but getting to know more about him last year and showing him more of who I am as a person besides just-mom has made our bond that much stronger. Thank God for that because I always said if my meek boy rebels I would surely die. The way things are going now I think I won’t be pushing up daisies anytime soon on account of his behaviour.

As a mommy I’m not supposed to have a favourite and I promise it’s not the case but there is just a special kind of bond a mother and son shares. That’s why I’ve wrapped him up in more cotton wool than the girls. My mom, being an all girl mom, often remarks on the way he looks at me when he thinks no one is watching. I don’t know about that because all I ever see are eyes rolling.

He’s my first born and all his experiences are our experiences. His milestones are also mine as a parent. I’ve never done this before. I look around our neighbourhood and see boys his age and younger wanting to be thugs. Of his peers are already making out with girls on street corners. The horror. And before you go thinking that I’m judging them… I’m thinking about my girls who may be one of the girls who reciprocate corner kisses. Jesus take the wheel. It’s for the aforementioned reasons and also the fact that I’d hate for my kids to be anyones victim, that I’ve wrapped them in cotton wool.

My mom and family have been telling me for a while to shed that cotton wool but I wouldn’t hear any of it. Just a few months ago when my aunt gave me the usual speech I told her “It’s my son and I’ll raise him the way I see fit”. It may sound a bit harsh and also very ignorant so I’ll explain. My fears run so deep that I’m not always open to suggestions when it comes to protecting my chickens. I always think of the worse case scenarios. Those dishing advice may mean well but I’m responsible for K3’s well being and safety. If anything happens to my kids those same advise givers will probably console me with words like “Everything happens for a reason.” No thank you. I’ll pass.

This year 1st K is a junior at high school and the worst part of all is he has to travel to school. Luckily he travels with a transport company who drives picks him up from home in the mornings and drops him again in the afternoon. Not so lucky is that the taxi does not accommodate extra mural activities so we have to fetch him from school on those days. It’s been fine for the last few months until yesterday, when the hubster worked afternoon shift and could not fetch him. My first instinct was to say he couldn’t participate but knowing his mom he quickly and confidently (to my surprise) said that he’d take public taxi home. (It takes two taxi’s to get home!) I could just kick myself for having the hubster drop me off at his school one afternoon and me showing him how to travel by public transport. It was something I felt he needed to know. Good for him, he now knew and was determine not to miss out on his first chess game/match/practice/whatever you call it. I don’t know chess. What I knew for sure was that my nerves were shattered.

Just after 4pm yesterday I got a “please call me” from my son. That was a good sign. He was done with chess and about to get a taxi. His words: “Mommy I’m going to walk now and get a taxi… (slight pause) I know which taxis to take and I’ll be fine.” Tears threatened to spill and I was tempted to tell him to rather wait right there while I call my sister to pick him on her way home from work. Hearing my mom and aunt’s voice echo in my mind and realising that my son needs to do this some time or the other, I let go and wished him a safe journey.

A little over an hour later he was home sweet home with the broadest smile on his face. He was so proud of this achievement and besides my obvious relief, I was proud too. The past 24 hours I finally decided that the cotton wool has got to go. As much as I try to shelter my kids, especially 1st K, it’s just not realistic. They need to be able to fend for themselves one day and my fears need to be cast aside once and for all if I’m to prepare them for real life.

Unfortunately 2nd/middle K is going to go through pretty much the same thing as her brother because she’s my eldest daughter. I suspect she’ll have an easier time at it though because she’ll have her brother around and I’d have cooled down a lot by then. I do feel for the hubster though because he’s gonna have a harder time letting go than I do.

In case you think I’ve made peace with unwrapping the cotton wool and letting go a bit, let me assure you that I have a long way to go. *cringing at the thought of what our next milestone may be* Is it too late to change my mind about having kids?

PS: He had so much fun at chess yesterday and won all his matches. He also explained each match in detail. I had to pretend to understand everything and do the usual “oooh” and “aaah” noises because I’ve given up on telling him that I just don’t get it.

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12 thoughts on “Unwrapping The Cotton Wool

    • Thanks for the comment Marcia and for bringing it to my attention. Went straight to spam.

      Twins… Awww… My sister is due next month with twins and we are super stoked.

      I believe it doesn’t get any easier the older they get. I hate letting go.

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  1. Celeste, I feel your nerves wrecking havoc while waiting for your son to arrive home! My mom suggested that Kai take the bus home next year…NO and NO and N-O he is way too small to travel alone on a bus, even if it is only a few blocks. Cottonwool for as long as he will allow me to get away with it.

    Your son sounds like a hard worker and so awesome that he got a scholarship!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What is it with our moms making these kinds of suggestions? Kai is still a baby. I used to commute by bus to Town when I worked and was always amazed at the wee ones commuting alone. 6yo babies! Their parents obviously don’t have any choice in the matter. They seemed to be ok and I noted that many of us (adults) looked out for them. Not promoting the idea but if you find yourself left with no choice, know that there are plenty of people who still look out for kids. Especially on busses because it’s the same people on the same buses everyday so they become your family.

      I’m glad you realise now already that it’s matter of him allowing you to get away with it. I didn’t know that how it works. My son still waits for me to pick normal outfits to wear at home at times so independence is all knew to me where he is concerned.

      He’s a real geek Chevonne and works hard. Makes us so proud.

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  2. I think this is hard for any parent. I’m sure it will be hard for me.
    My mom was very keen for me to go down to the PE CBD and catch public buses home when I was in high school. She had this thing that she caught public transport and so must I. Even though she was at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done letting your son take that ride (=steps) to independence, it is so very hard to do because we know of the dangers out there, yet we have to let go slowly. Well done to him for winning his chess games

    Liked by 1 person

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