This year our eldest son Jordan turned 21. The lead up to the big day was busy to say the least. With a party to organise and presents to buy I didn’t give a lot of thought to the way I would feel when the day finally arrived.
I anticipated feeling proud of Jordan and excited for him and his mates who are at this very moment in Byron Bay celebrating. What I didn’t expect was the extent to which Jordan’s birthday would lead me to reflect on not only his life but also my own.
Suddenly I could see the last 21 years with crystal clear clarity. As I reflected on each of the stages of Jordan’s life I pondered also the person I had been along the way, the influence his Dad and I have had on his development but also the lessons we had learned.
While like any other parents I know we haven’t been perfect, reflecting on the relationship we have built with our son, on the decisions we have made along the way, on how much I have learned from being his Mum, I was overcome with a sense of achievement.
Jordan came into my life when I was only a year older than he is now. At the tender young age of 22 I suddenly found myself responsible for another human being.
Not only was it my job to keep him safe, but also to guide him to becoming the best possible version of himself.
I imagined him as a man and wanted more than anything for him to be happy, confident and kind. I’m very proud to say he’s all three.
Being Jordan’s Mum has taught me so much – here are three powerful lessons I’ve learned:
1) There is no correlation between age and wisdom
On many occasions Jordan was the teacher and I his student. I remember as though it was yesterday the day Jordan said to me “Mummy, you choose how you feel. Don’t be sad, be happy”. He was six years old and I was having a temper tantrum. It was clear to him that I had choice and I’m so grateful that he chose to share that with me.
2) Inspire and influence trumps command and control
It soon became evident to me that I couldn’t make Jordan do anything, I could only influence his choices. Jordan has shown the trust and respect he feels for us. Leading by example, showing empathy and being open-minded have undoubtedly been the most powerful tools in our parental toolkit.
3) People need freedom to grow
Like any protective parent there were many times when I wanted to hold Jordan close and protect him from the dangers of the world.
For him to grow however I realised he needed to experience life and I couldn’t always be there to make everything OK.
Letting go and overcoming fear has been a difficult challenge but one that has been essential to Jordan’s transition from being a boy to the capable young man he is today.
Can you relate to this story? Please share your experiences in the comments below.