The other day I read him Runaway Bunny written by the author of Goodnight Moon (I can't remember her name). I was surprised to realise that both books were originally copyrighted in the 1940s.
Runaway Bunny tells the tale of a bunny who tells his mother that he wants to run away from home. The mother replies that she will follow him wherever he goes. The story continues with the little bunny concocting various scenarios where he will go so that his mother cannot locate him, and the mother always find a way of showing that she will always find him. At the end of the story, the little bunny concludes that it isn't worthwhile to go away after all since his mother will always be there.
The book cover describes the story as a tale of a mother's unconditional love and support. I see it quite differently. I see it as a tale of an overbearing mother who will not let her son go out into the world and become his own person.
The other day I was at a job interview. The interviewer asked me about my year at Hebrew University. She indicated that she would not let her son go for a whole year, but permitted him to do a summer programme instead. I had nothing to say that would have been socially appropriate. I would have liked to have told her that I would be a different person today if my parents had not let me go to Israel for a year; that my parents not only permitted me to go, but encouraged me, and financially supported me; that my year in Jerusalem was one of the best years of my life; that I met some of my closest friends; that I fulfilled some of my lifelong dreams including recording an album and backpacking around the country by myself; that the first couple of months were devastatingly hard and I needed the full year to catch my stride; and that I believe that every young adult should travel and/or study abroad if they have the means and opportunity.
I hope that as my son grows up, he knows that I will always be there to support him in whatever he chooses to do. But just as importantly, I want him to become his own person, make his own mistakes, and explore the world if he chooses to.
Of course, I may need to be reminded me of this in 18 years.