My mother is in town to visit the kids and me. Since we
don’t live in the same city as my parents, I look forward to my mother’s visits
and so do my kids. But I notice
pretty quickly into her visit that even though I love her like crazy, she kind
of drives me crazy. That’s because my mother can’t seem to help treating me
like I’m 7. Sure it’s nice
that she offers to feed me 24 hours a day. But it’s not so nice when she screams, “Do you need to make
a pee?” when she visits me at work.
For a long time I’d get annoyed at my mother. Or worse yet,
I’d get mad. I’d act irritated and bitchy. “What, do you think I’m 10?” I’d say while rolling my eyes
as she’d walk into my house with a Costco-sized case of toilet paper in hand. Her
voice would chirp, “Just in case,” as if my family and I had been living
without toilet paper since her last visit. I’d take her need to help
personally, like she thought I couldn’t do it myself.
Then something happened the other day that changed my
opinion of my mother. My 7-year-old son did the unthinkable. He grew up overnight. “Mom, you don’t need to walk me in to
school,” he said. “Just pull up in the parking lot and I’ll get out.”
My heart sunk. I wondered how it happened so fast, my son
not needing me. I never knew I wanted to be needed. But now faced with this
confident, independent, tall kid, I want my baby back. I want to be Mom.
I fake cried under the guise of making my kid laugh. I said
I was joking, but he knew the truth and I knew the truth. My crying wasn’t fake
at all. I was smiling on the outside, but inside I was crushed.
“Okay Mommy, you can walk me in,” he said. Then he paused and cautiously said, “If
you need to.”
No matter how old I am or how old my children are I’ll cry every time they leave me.
“I need to,” I said and immediately parked the car. I walked him in and then got back in my car, still
teary-eyed from watching my kid grow up in one quick second. And then I thought
of my own mother who is probably still reeling from me doing the unthinkable
and growing up myself.
It’s clear to me now that the inevitable is going to happen.
I’m going to annoy my children for the rest of their lives with my need to
help, my desire to take their pain away and my inability to not feel their sadness. They’re going to roll their eyes,
wondering if I think they’re 10. I don’t, but part of me wishes they were.
Here’s how I’ll annoy my grown children and you probably
I’ll treat my kid’s cold like it’s cancer.
To save my child from imminent death, I’ll smother him or
her with my right arm every time they are passengers in my car.
I’ll constantly ask my grown children if they need to use
the restroom, even when we’re in public. And no, I won’t ask quietly. Sorry
kids, old habits die hard.
I’ll tell my kids they look too thin, no matter how much
I’ll always carry a hairbrush in my handbag, just in case
one of the kids needs it.
I’ll offer to come over to help, even if one of the kids
just has a hangnail.
I’ll tell the kids I don’t need anything for my birthday
because I already have them. It’ll sound corny, but I’ll mean it.