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We Never Outgrow Our Need For Mom

As kids grow up they become increasingly independent but that doesn't need they won't always need Mom!

I'm not going to lie to you, I totally don't miss things like wiping stinky, poopy butts, zipping and unzipping of pants or shoe tying.  Sure, those are the delights of having a child but when you have three (or more) children, those little delights act as little speed bumps set right in your way so that you trip over them and land smack on your face almost every single second of the day.

Add them to the countless other things that must get done during the day and those seemingly little tasks start giving you occasion to sigh and roll your eyes into the back of your head where you see a little man screaming and pulling out his hair saying, "for goodness sake, why didn't you just buy the freaking velcro sneakers!!

When my kids got old enough to buckle themselves into the car or dress themselves in a mostly acceptable way (turtle neck sweaters paired with courdoroy pants in July should be re-considered and yes you need to wear pants when you go out in public), I breathed a sigh of relief. 

And suddenly those tiny little speed bumps started to be spaced further and further apart until one morning after waking up late (and by late I mean a quarter to seven), I walked downstairs to find my oldest daughter standing at the stove slinging eggs which when finished, she plated with a side of cinnamon toast and a smiley face made out of ketchup. The youngest two sat quietly at the kitchen table, swinging their dangling feet and waiting patiently for their breakfast.

People, the girl had already made my coffee, complete with creamer, and I was just about to sing "good golly hallelujia" when I suddenly started to feel obsolete and unnecessary.  It took a minute of me staring into space while sitting and blowing on my hot, freshly made coffee to talk myself down from that ledge.

"They still need you.  They still need you.  Who is going to wash their clothes? Without you they'd be crusty and stinky in less than 36 hours.  You're still needed."

Of course, they need me for more than just laundry.  I still get to kiss boo boos and scare away monsters that cause middle of the night nightmares.  I'm still very much a necessary and relevant part of their lives. Nothing can make belly aches go away quicker than a warm hug from Mom! 

I always will be necessary to them but things are definitely changing.  That neat arrangement we once had where I did everything and made decisions without question is now under revision. 

I now have to accommodate a variety of personal preferences (some prefer to take showers- not baths) and political beliefs (my youngest is vehemently opposed to any child labor that involves washing the dog.) I have to handle their growing independence and by extension, my growing fears towards said independence.

I have to keep reminding myself that if my mom were alive today, I would still need her, now more than ever and my kids will always need me too.  Our relationship will undoubtedly evolve over time and while that will take some painful adjusting, it will prove to be rewarding to watch them grow up into capable, independent individuals.

For now, though; I'm going to savor every orange they can't peel, every wrapper they can't open and every problem that requires a desperate cry for "Mom!"

 

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Cate Tsahalis July 27, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Wonderful post, Alicia. My kids (ages 5, 7) are being more independent, too. Not hot coffee independent, mind you, but they are definitely managing more and more of their own needs. This offers a huge level of relief for me, because it allows me to attend to some of my own often-ignored needs. That being said, it definitely pulls at my heart strings when I see the baby years fading deeper and deeper into the mist. But like you, I wish I still had my mom's support and presence. This proves that a child's need for their parents doesn't disappear with age, it simply changes form. So enjoy that hot coffee, you've earned it!
Alicia Yost July 27, 2012 at 04:30 PM
The other day my daughter said something about "when she goes away to college" and it dawned on me that we only have a few years left of our family being the unit that we are. How strange it will be to not have one of them around the table or worse, any of them at the table. I have to keep reminding myself on those days when they drive me a little crazy, that it's a privilege to have them here and that before I know it, I will be wishing to have these crazy days back!

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