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Don’t Forget Your Mother Is a Mom, Too

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.

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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 will, too.

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 they weigh.

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.

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Regardless of their wealth, I’ll ask my kids if they need a couple bucks and I’ll be thrilled when they take it.

And despite willing myself not to, I’ll show up at my kids’ homes with groceries, I’ll send them articles they’ll never read and I’ll call them with reminders of things they already know.

But no matter how old I am or how old my children are I’ll cry every time they leave me, even if they’re just leaving me for first grade and want to walk in to school themselves.

Image via Twenty20/blairbear28

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