There have been times as a mother where I have made some pretty difficult decisions. Times where I have agreed to situations that unnerved me. It is part of parenting and helps you grow with your child. This was one of these times.
I write this after the fact and when I can look back with pride at both my son and myself. I now feel ready to express and share the emotions that I went through during the decision making process.
My family and Tor's family are very diverse. We are all from different backgrounds and have been through different life experiences. This is one of the reasons I believe Tor to be a well rounded young boy and I will always be grateful of this. This certain situation involves Tor's amazing Nanny and Grandad on his fathers side. I have been close to them and I see them as being my family even now that I have been separated from his father for numerous years. They are caring and have always been understanding of everything I do with Tor. My only regret is that I do not make enough time for them in Tors life even though we talk about them regularly.
Since Tor was born we have often discussed the time in the future where they will take him on holiday to Namibia. It has come up regularly in conversation over the last seven years, so when we started to discuss the possibility of it happening over the next year or so it didn't come as a surprise. It felt normal to talk about it, to look into the future and dream on Tors behalf about the amazing adventure that would come.
In March of this year I received a phone call, one I will remember for a long time, for all of the right reasons. The call that asked......Can we take Tor to Namibia in May?
Whilst I processed this question I automatically started working out what needed to be done to enable Tor to take part in this life changing adventure. I was thinking about passports and vaccinations, time taken off school. It did not ever cross my mind that I could or should say no.
My brain a whirr, full of excitement for my son, full of forms to fill, jobs to do, awe and amazement. Need to button down the dates, how long does a passport take to come through, how do I speak to school? Never a no. Always what do I need to do to ensure he goes.
I put down the phone.
My legs feel like jelly when it hits me.
My Tor, my seven year old boy in Namibia. In Namibia. Not with me.
It does not matter how I feel. How could I ever deny him this gift, this lifetime event?
I couldn't. It was a yes.
I felt terrible for all the right reasons. Because I am his mother. Because he would be going so very far away.
But these feelings are mine to feel. I am his mother and I have the right to feel every single, horrible, heart wrenching feeling. I can feel as scared as I want to.
But, I cannot say no.
It is my job as a parent to weigh up the scary feelings against the excitement and wonder. This is what I signed up to when I decided to have a child. I make the best decision I can make with the information I have, with the feeling in my gut even when it churned.
My decision was yes within seconds of the call and nothing would change that.
So, it was decided. I would move heaven and earth for my boy. He would go.
I spent the next two months with an emotional roller coaster running inside me. I made sure he had his passport, his vaccinations. I followed the school's protocol for having time off in term time.
It was a feeling I have never felt before. I was so excited for my son but so scared for me. Scared for me because I was going through it, I would not be in control. I was not going to be there and that was what was scary.
At no time was I worried for his health or safety as he would be in the safest of hands. With people who knew what to expect. With people who loved him dearly. Such a weird emotion to be scared but not scared at the same time.
I said yes and that was the right thing to do.
I said yes.