My children are no longer babies, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel a desperate need to fix their hurts.
In fact, I sometimes long for the days when the sound of them crying from their room in the middle of the night meant they were just hungry or wet. I could make that better in an instant. I can’t always stop the tears anymore. Now, the problems are so much more complicated, and often, there is nothing I can do to take away the hurt. Not that I don’t want to. Desperately. But life just doesn’t work like that at this age.
And I know it never will.
I’m certain my own mother worries for me in exactly the same way, even though I should have life’s lessons figured out by now.
A friend of little ones recently wrote about the always present feeling of being ‘overwhelmed, overtired…over everything’, admitting she was sometimes jealous of the parents of children beyond their toddler phase. She then acknowledged this time would pass and she’d probably miss it…the days of wiping up old applesauce, and packing lunches.
She’s right. She will miss it.
But she’ll always be needed.
Maybe that’s a comfort. Maybe a burden. But either way, a definite.
Her help won’t have the same instant impact it has for her toddlers, though.
She’ll see the applesauce and wonder why the kids didn’t clean it up themselves.
And she may not be packing lunches, but she’ll probably be paying for them, eagerly, because she will realize buying them a meal is the most certain way of spending precious time with her babies in their more grown-up versions of themselves.
They will go from believing she knows everything to being certain she knows nothing at all.
And they won’t be shy about saying as much.
They’ll make a lot of mistakes. And she’ll have to stand back and let them, even though she knows it could be a real mess before it’s all over, and I’m not talking about the days-old applesauce kind of mess that can quickly be erased.
Because part of being a mom means letting go. And letting them learn to clean up those major messes on their own, no matter how much you want to step in and make it better, And you will hear them struggle with the pain of it all. And see their hurt. You’ll pray for them to find a way through it all, as quickly as possible, with hope that the next time around things will have a different outcome.
Either way, you’ll want them to remember the lesson they learned first as an infant: That you will be there, with a hug and a whole lot of love, as long as they need you.
That’s what being Mom means—no matter how old your babies are.