An oversight but the ramifications were so painful. I have pondered over writing this blog, but I have finally decided to share.
There are many of us who have multifaceted parenting structures in place and I particularly say this, as the norm when referring to a divorced household is “broken homes.” I fiercely contest that my home is broken. The relationships of the children in it are rich. They are confident, caring, intelligent humans, who watch over each other fiercely, all three are gentle spirited and treat me with love and respect. I have never faltered in insecurity at their regard for me and the total love and devotion I receive.
Leaving my youngest in a different province was one of the hardest decisions I made. My health dictated that a significant change was necessary and the opportunity arose in Cape Town. I packed up and made that trip three and bit years ago. Staying as connected in his school life has not been as easy compared to the locals, but I have been guided by his requests and have attended as many gatherings as possible. I believe that it has partly to do with my absence that he has become the independent man he is today. I have not been on tap to pick up pieces. He has found a voice, he is articulate, a force to be reckoned with in his own way, and has a rich array of friendships across all age groups. His relationship with his father and stepmother have had a chance to flourish, for which I am proud and so grateful to her, to step into this important role so graciously and with love for my child.
Matric has descended on us; he has acquired his driver’s license, and is closer to total independence. A few more months of hard work and dedication are required. The school calendar card dictates my diary with the fist major event in our lives being the Matric Ball 2017.
Excitement started for the Ball over the course of his last mid-term break when we went out shopping for his outfit. We matched up a waistcoat, bought the tie, the shirt for his cufflinks. We discussed his buttonhole and the appropriate flowers for his date of choice. I booked our flights, car hire and organized our accommodation. I was filled with much anticipation and excitement.
Friday EARLY morning airport check-in eventually arrived. In communication with him, I was only due at the “Pre Drinks and Photo Session” at 6.30pm. I queried with him, if I had the time right as it all seemed like a lot to fit into before a 7pm ball. I luxuriously spent the morning and lunch with an old friend and daughter, languidly left to fetch the flowers and then treated myself to a wash and blow dry to look my best for the evening, all in perfectly good time.
Forward a few hours. I look great, my hair is swishing on my shoulders, I’ve bathed and changed, I’m leaving my accommodation (also close friends) to turn onto the highway with half an hour’s travelling time when my cellphone rings. “Where are you Mom? Are you close?”
“I’ve just turned onto the highway my boy, I’ll be there for 6.30pm.”
“Oh, but we are leaving at 6.30pm for the ball.”
My heartbeat started pounding in my ears, my hands went clammy, stay calm, stay calm, don’t lose it, don’t spoil the evening I started slowly chanting to myself.
“I’m coming at 6.30pm as we discussed, what do you mean you’re leaving?”
“Oh, the Pre drinks, changing and photos started at 4pm, sorry Mom, I must have forgotten to tell you and only told Dad.”
Eardrums pounding, I’m quiet, I stay in control.
“I’m driving as fast as possible, please hang on so I at least get a chance to see you both before you leave, or otherwise I will drive straight to school and see you there?”
“We will wait as long as possible Mom, drive quickly.”
So the hired Nissan Go exceeded all expectations. It screeched into Gowrie Golf Club and came to a grinding halt. He and his partner had waited. In the exchange of buttonholes and flowers, I didn’t get an immediate photo. They then jumped into his Dad’s smart car to get to school. Once again the Nissan chased to keep up. I lunged out of the car and chased them to the venue. He turned, waited, posed and I finally got my photo, they then turned and walked away from me. My god, I felt like I had been punched on what must feature as one of the most beautiful nights of his life to date.
Feeling defeated I found myself at the front of the pomp and ceremony, watching each couple walk the red carpet towards the entrance. He suddenly appeared at the entrance, his tall frame graciously greeting the staff. I called and he saw me, beaming as he slowly took the walk. Gratefully I got that on video.
What transpired after that for me was a wonderful evening with other parents. We laughed with abandon at their antics and growth over the five years and lauded their achievements. I got to see the photos I had missed. I had a wonderful evening.
What is it then, that makes me feel like a petulant child? Do I feel childishly usurped? I did have a wonderful evening, I did spend quality time with him the next day watching hockey matches and snoozing with him in the afternoon. So here I am, middle aged, and still full of the kind of angst that I thought I’d said goodbye to in my forties.
No child of mine would willingly hurt me, so to all of us, a lesson learnt. Do not presume you have passed on information if you are not sure. Be gentle with your love. A Mother’s love is unconditional.
angst – a feeling of persistent worry about something trivial