In the first pages of Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie, Wendy, then two years old, brings a flower to her mother . Mrs Darling “put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can´t you remain like this forever!’ “ Hearing this, Wendy understood that she had to grow up. Barrie continues by saying that “two is the beginning of the end” and that (and this tells a lot about mothers and daughters) “Of course they lived at 14, and until Wendy came her mother was the chief one”.
Is it really a loving thing to say to a child, oh you´ll always be a child to me ? I don´t think so. I think we should tell our children “I´ll always love you, no matter what” , and that´s a completely different thing.
When parents tell their children they will always be children, what they really mean is “ you´ll never outshine me. I´ll be the chief one, always.” They´re afraid of the painful and inevitable little deaths we go through every day in parenthood.
As I write this, my five –year –old (almost, almost six, according to herself) daughter is in a school excursion in a Farm Hotel 200 km away from here. They left early in the morning and will be back tomorrow evening.
She has always been very independent, that one. In her first day of school (she was two) , I arrived with her at the school gate and when we were crossing it she turned to me and said “Go home, mom”. Of course I didn´t go home immediately. I stayed there for a little while in case she “needed me”, but then realized I was obviously not needed, and came home. I thought it was going to be like her brother´s first months of school, that I had to be there all the time. Her brother had spoiled me.
When the trip permit came in her notebook I asked her if she wanted to go. I was expecting her to be at least hesitant, but no. I got an “of course” fired straight at me… Yesterday, when I went to help her pack, to my surprise she had managed to read a few items of the packing list sent by the school and had already separated them.
I feel a mixture of pride and anxiety. I´m really proud of this beautiful little project of woman I´m raising and I´m proud of my ten-year-old boy, who told me this morning: don´t worry mom, I´ll be there with her. And I´m anxious because I don´t want them to grow before their time.
All in all, in these past few days I realized that the only certain thing I can give those two is my love in many ways. It´s imprinted in them and they´ll carry it wherever they go. All else will be up to them.