We have had a lot of changes in the last 3 months or so and sometimes life travels so fast it's hard to get your head around it. D (17) has been accepted into the army in his position of choice and leaves on 14th February, 2011. N (13) has decided he would like to go back to school so started about 8 weeks ago. It has meant he has gone to live with his mum as his choice of school (where many of his friends are) is a lot closer to her house, about 45 minutes to an hour drive each way from here depending on traffic. We speak to him on the phone every day and have reverted back to every second weekend here and all the holidays. M(15) has started OTEN Cert II in General and Vocational Education distance education with TAFE so is studying independently now. I am still supporting him as far as providing supplies, photocopying and other back up jobs but as far as providing educational opportunities/experiences myself, that has now been reduced.
It occurred to me today that I have had seasons in my life where it has been required that I focus more on one child than the others. When D was young, most likely because he was my first and I was so inexperienced or maybe because of his strong personality, I couldn't focus on ANYTHING else. He was so full on and took up so much of my time that when M was born two years later he really didn't have a choice but to be the placid, easygoing personality that he is.
As time went on that focus and need diminished and other things came and went in my life. When K was born, of course she was the focus for a good couple of years. Then N came to live with us and I put 110% into providing the same educational opportunities in his path as well as great life experiences that the two older boys had had. At times I was overwhelmed, all self-created of course, but I knew that I wanted to focus on him and seeing the results I am so glad I did. I would often chat with Tony about being overwhelmed and we would put strategies into place to deal with this but I still wouldn't have changed the intense focus on him for those three years.
This morning I got up at 5am to take M to morning tramp training. He is training up to 6 days a week, early mornings, evenings and some weekends, with fundraiser events, etc to raise money to help pay his way to the National Championships in a week's time. And that's when it hit me that it's his turn now for my focus. It's only taken 15 years :) Helping him get to his part time job (up to 25 hours a week sometimes), doing as much as I can to support his study without actually doing the work and running him to training, physio appointments and competitions.
This does not in anyway mean the other kids are neglected. The other kids' needs are just not as hands on and don't require me all of the time. D doesn't need to borrow the car as he catches buses and trains but I know it makes his life easier so I rearrange things to make this happen regularly. N loves to bring his homework on the weekend here and I make sure he knows I'm available for him. We sit and chat while he works through it. This is just the way it is at the moment. It's funny how most people share the time dutifully between each child to minimise jealousy and neediness between the children but looking back over the last 18 years, there has definitely been a season of parenting each child at different times of their lives. I find it really interesting to acknowledge this as a mum and think it reduces some of the guilt that we feel at times.
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