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“Your son will hold your hand only for a little while. But he will hold your heart for a lifetime.”

 

I never expected Motherhood to be easy, I just didn’t think it would be this hard.

I don’t mean the nappies, the night feeds etc. I mean the way that your heart takes a battering as you, as a parent, have to stand to one side and allow your children to make decisions that you don’t agree with, but which, ultimately, you have to let them make on their own.

Maybe I should have had more than just the one child, maybe then it might have been easier. Would my love have been diluted if I had had more than one child, would the pain have been less? Or would it have doubled, trebled? I’ll never know. That was the decision I made 25 years ago, the one that I have to live with now.

My son moved from UK to Canada in September 2013 on a one year working visa, he went with two friends from university. The three of them settled in Toronto, he got himself a job in a restaurant, they got a flat and they lived the life. September 2014, son and one friend extended their visas for a second year, one friend came home. And then there were two.

Son now wants to stay in Canada, he wants to apply for permanent residency and never come home again. With the Canadian immigration laws, it is not definite that he can do this, but his firm have said that they will help him. Downside is that he will have to spend the next three years working in a restaurant with no chance of seeking a job for which he is qualified – he has a degree in English. I don’t mean to write that working in a restaurant is not a good job, but at some point, son will meet a girl, and want to settle down and start a family. There are no prospects in the job he has. There are no opportunities to earn a decent wage that will allow him to save and set down roots. As a mother, I want him to be starting out on a career, to start getting some money behind him, to start saving for the future so that he can provide for a future wife and family. In Canada, I can’t see him being able to do that, not in the foreseeable future. By applying for permanent residency, he cannot look for another job for at least 3 years, if he leaves the firm that will be sponsoring him, he leaves the country. So, in 3, 4, 5 years time, I can still see him working in a restaurant, living in a small apartment with friends and having no money. Is that the life I want for my son? To be living 3500 miles away with nothing to his name? Is that what any of you would want for your children?

What I want for my son is for him to come back to the UK. Not to live at home, no. But in the UK he has family to help him. He has a 93 year-old grandfather who misses him. He has a very strong group of friends who have been with him for many years. He has a god-daughter who was 6 months old when he left for Canada. He will have the opportunity to look for different jobs without the fear of being kicked out of the country. He will be able to set down roots, be able to start building for a future.

This is the decision that he must make – stay in Canada or return to the UK. I can’t help him with the decision, anything I say is tinged with bias because I do not want my son 3500 miles away. I do not want to look into a future where, as I get older, I can only afford to visit him once a year. I do not want to look into a future where my only contact with my future grandchildren is via Sykpe; no hugs, no kisses, just a screen.

Why didn’t the manuals tell me about this, about the heartache that this decision is potentially going to cause me? Because – I can’t tell him what to do for two very good reasons.

First – I don’t want to force him into making a decision to please me, a decision that he will always regret and ultimately, blame me for.

Second – as far as life goes, I have reached Autumn and am now heading slowly for my Winter years; I have lived my life. My son, he is in vibrant, fresh Spring. I want his Summer to be one that he will always remember because by the time he reaches Autumn, there will only be time left for regret.

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