Monday, May 10, 2010

letting go

"here, let me tie that bandana for you."

"here, let me help you make your bed."

"here, let me dig out your toothbrush for you. i think it's at the bottom of your backpack."

i was hovering, and i knew it. but not too much, i thought.

every offer for help so far was being greeted with, "oh, that's OK, mom. i can do it."

really? since when did my 8 year old suddenly not need me anymore? i felt panic creeping up into my chest. i didn't like this feeling.

i really don't get into a lot of the mushy-wushy, lovey-dovey-ness that so many moms i know are so good at. it seems to all come naturally to them. they can sit in a room and talk all day long about how great their kids are, how blessed they are to be mothers. some of them even go so far as to homeschool (gasp!), sew with their kids, do art projects on a regular basis.

i really do fail at so many "motherly" things. i work so much that at a recent mother's day tea in my son's classroom, where he had filled out a "facts about mom" sheet, his response to the question "if your mom could go anywhere it would be_______________" he filled in "off the computer."

both older kids have written entire stories at school, which they have then proudly displayed for all the world to see, about how "mom works on the computer; dad takes us to the library."

it's embarrassing. at least, i feel embarrassed when i see these things.

so maybe i overcompensate sometimes, by being overbearing or overly motherly. or maybe it's not really overcompensating. i just love loving on my kids. i remember my mom and dad visiting after rhys was born, and my mom turned to me and said, "do you realize that some of the things you do for these kids they can really do themselves?"

that was a real eye opener. i hadn't realized how much i liked to "baby" them. it's probably why they still can't tie their shoes on their own (very well) or ride a bike (very well) or why they don't have a long list of chores. i just really do like doing things for them.

but this will become increasingly more difficult as they (rightfully) grow into more and more independent little (and then big) people who want (and need) to learn to do things on their own.

i know in my mind that i should be celebrating this. after all, if they can grow into independent young adults someday then this means they won't be still living with me when they are 30. it means that aedan (who we often jokingly call our "meal ticket") will be able to hold down a steady job and fulfill this prophecy of ours. :)

but all of this "i can do it myself, mom" is incredibly unsettling to me, because i know this means that one day i'll wake up and realize that they won't need me at all.

or maybe they will. they will always need me to love them. and in the end i guess that's what matters most.


Amy said...

This is such a great photo of G! I have often wondered what it will be like when the kids don't "need" my help. I see bits and pieces of it here and there and each time I am like you-a little bit proud and at the same time a little bit freaked out. You are doing a great job!

Nerissa said...

I like this I will remember it someday when I go through it too. I always feel like I am not as motherly as I would like to be too... and I try to hover but Mariela seems to already have an independent streak in her. I hope the next one (someday) will let me smother him/her like the gravy (LOL) since he/she will be my last. Your best work yet lady!

Elissa said...

Yes, I'm not there quite yet, but I know it's coming...

But, the best thing is...WE need you! Ha, ha. That's the last thing you want to hear, I know, but it's true. Don't you find your life keeps shifting as seasons pass, and as you "mark" them for others, you forge the way? xo

elise said...

a vision of my future but without the blazing blue eyes. gorgeous! hamish refuses to kiss me unless bribed. it's not pretty. only six. sigh.

sew nancy said...

wow. this is such a stunning photo of your girl.
parenting is so interesting and always something new to learn as they grow older. i think this must be a really interesting stage in children. i always go on and on about this movie series called '7 up'. It documents children every 7 years starting at when they are 7. What's cool about it is how they are so much the same at 7 as they are at 21, 35 etc.
Independence though hard on the parent is a sign that she is confident in herself so that must be a good thing.

Amelia Plum said...

i love the photo of your daughter and the post you wrote really touched me. it mirrors a lot of my thoughts and feelings and fears but i think how you ended it is perfect. they will always need your love. sometimes mom is the best person to turn to even in your 40s!

Brittney said...

I identify with everything you said. I've raised my son alone and all he thinks I do is work. Now he is a great big nine-year-old who not only does it himself, tells everyone else he does it better than me! Sometimes, though, as I put him to bed, all of the sudden he'll say, "Will you sing me a lullaby?" And I get to pretend for a few moments that I have that precious little baby boy again.
You daughter is beautiful, Kristi.