Where Am I While My Boy is Alone?

Dylan got hermit crabs for Christmas – a whole slew of them, five in fact, with a crabitat and lots to learn.  The moment I woke up this morning, I found Dylan staring at his crabs with lots of questions.

An hour passed, then another, as Dylan and I made crabitat adjustments and got to know the little critters.

Shane popped in for a minute or two, then disappeared again.  For hours, he entertained himself.  He studied some magic tricks, looked at some of his gifts, read some books.  He got himself ready for the day, never complaining that it was 10 a.m. and he still hadn’t had breakfast.

In fact, he didn’t complain about anything.  He didn’t complain about being left alone for so long.  He didn’t complain about having nothing to do.  He didn’t complain about being lonely.  He didn’t even complain when he couldn’t figure out how to use his gifts.

I didn’t even know he’d looked at his gifts until tonight, when I stepped on one as I put him to bed.  I had no idea what he was doing – nor did I ask.  Occasionally, I yelled, “Shane? Are you okay?”  But for the most part, I totally ignored him.

In the back of my brain, I know that Shane’s independence is going to take him far.  His ability to keep himself entertained without getting bored or lonely is a big plus.

But I feel so bad about it!  I want more than anything to just be there for him.  I want him to have a sense of security, that if he falls, I’ll catch him.  If he has a question, I’ll answer it.  If he needs affection, I’ll hold him.

And yet, I am not there.  I am not standing next to him when he has a question, because I am often doing something else – frequently something to do with Dylan.  It’s not that I enjoy Dylan’s company more, although I certainly do love that time very much.  It’s not that I find Shane’s companionship lacking in any way.

In fact, I absolutely love spending time with Shane.  It’s a treasure.

So where am I when Shane is spending all that time alone?  I’m usually watching him from afar, letting him know that I’m there if he needs me, and hoping that I’m doing the right thing often enough so that when he grows up, he’ll still have a safe place to fall.

He doesn’t seem hurt by his alone time.  Sometimes, he actually prefers it.  He’ll tell me he doesn’t want to play a game, or do a puzzle, or read a book together.  He just doesn’t need me as much as I think he should.

Which is probably why I feel so bad about all that time that he’s alone.  My baby is growing up without me – and as okay as that is, it’s still sad to be the mom and realize that I’m just not all that necessary.

But it really is okay.  Right?

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