Being a Mom

It’s nice to be needed. My son who is eight years old loves school but says it’s hard on him because he is away from me. I wonder how long that will last! He doesn’t like being upstairs alone and frequently showers in our bathroom and falls asleep in our bed because he doesn’t like being alone upstairs. When college-aged sister was home for the holidays, he slept in her queen sized bed with her. It’s a good problem to have that our house is big enough that being upstairs alone is an issue. I get it that he is old enough to be in his own bathroom and bedroom full-time. And my husband usually takes him upstairs to his own room after he falls asleep in our bed. But most of the time he comes back downstairs either to our bed or to one of the couches. When I ask him why he won’t stay in his bed all night he answers, “I don’t like being far away from you.” He’s good about keeping his room clean and doing chores and ‘mommy homework’ (math, reading and writing Mon-Thursday excluding holidays). In many ways, he is learning some responsibility and independence. But in this way, he is still my baby, the littlest kid whom blessed to have stayed home with until he started school at the age of six. These years while he still feels little enough to want to be near us will pass quickly, so I cherish them now with gratitude.
My twelve-year old daughter needed my help on her science project today. She did the plan on her own and got a 70%. I like to let her go on auto-pilot as much as possible with her work, but when her grades tell me she isn’t working to potential, I step in to help. And she accepts it. She knows having an educator for a mom has its rewards. The main advice I gave her was about measuring the data. You have to have a way to quantify the experiment. I helped her figure out what graphs to make, how to measure her leaps and jumps, and took videos of her experimenting with dance using different kinds of dance shoes. She also learned how to make a sandwich this week. I know that sounds silly, but apparently she didn’t know how to make one because I always make them for her. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t believe she said she don’t know how to make a sandwich (figuring it is so easy that of course she knew how to make one). I thought it was ridiculous that she wants to be mothered to that extent, yet she also thinks she is old enough and responsible enough to go to public places without adults. She does her own laundry and has chores so she can learn responsibility and independence. As I said, I also don’t micromanage her school work, and most of the time she gets As and Bs on auto-pilot. She is at that age when she wants me to bring her lunch from subway to school, but she doesn’t want me to stay while she eats it in the cafeteria. (On the other hand my son wishes I would join him for lunch every day)! She hugs me and asks for my help on her own time. When she needs me, I’m there, and I feel lucky.
Even my nineteen-year old daughter at college still needs me for this and that. Of course, she needs financial support, but I’m also there for her as a mom in many other ways, for emotional support and to lend guidance and advice about the many facets of her life as a college student. I haven’t been able to visit her since moving her into her freshman dorm. In fact, last year I was injured during family weekend, and she told me not to come for her sorority’s moms’ weekend because it wasn’t a big deal, just a brunch. I was also really busy last year working as a teacher. Well, it turned out she missed me when all the other moms were there, and I wasn’t. I promised her I would attend this year and just booked my flight and hotel reservation yesterday! I’m excited to visit her in her world and am proud to be her mom!
Little things like these remind me that while they aren’t so little, they still need me for different reasons. Or at least they want me to be there for them as their mother even though they might not technically need me.. I Being a mother changes over the years, but it is wonderful to be reminded of the fact that there are certain things that mothers can do for their kids that soften their worlds. And I am grateful for all of those little things that remind me what an important job being a mother really is. It’s not glamorous. The hours are grueling. It can be a thankless job. But I wouldn’t want any other job in the world!

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