Just Heather
All Grown Up

Today was an epiphany surrounded by laundry, wrapped with a 3-year-old in nothing but underwear and a shirt half over her head. “Help me!” was her muffled cry, but as I made my way to her she was suddenly freed of the tangle. Proudly pulling the shirt down over her head, she announced, “I got it! I don’t need you.” My heart broke just a little bit.

I was taken back to the night several years ago when my oldest declared that she was not a baby and did not need to be tucked in. She marched up to bed all on her own. I curled up on my own bed with tears welling in my eyes. My little baby didn’t need me anymore. Gone were the days of cuddles and kisses, Goodnight Moon and the insistence that it wasn’t bedtime until Mommy pulled the covers over her body.

The tears were ready to flow when I heard a tiny voice call out, “Mommy? Can you come tuck me in?” We both went to bed a little more peaceful that night, me knowing my little girl still needed me (just a little bit) and her knowing I would always be there when she did. For her, that will always be true, but isn’t the point of parenting to raise your children so they won’t need you anymore? One day, all three of my girls will grow up and away – needing me less and less as the years go on. My heart will hurt, but it will mean I was successful.

I don’t think it will happen all at once. Slowly they’ll just need me less and less. One by one, they’ll begin to lean on one another or friends. Or a spouse. Until suddenly I’m not the one they think of first when they struggle, and they have to pencil in “call mom” on the calendar. They’ll probably still think of me when they want to cook their childhood favorites and I’m the one with the recipe in her head. I hope I’m first on the list when they want a night away from their own children.

Most of all, though, I hope they always know that even when they no longer need me daily, I’ll always be here when they do.

5 Responses to “All Grown Up”

  1. You’re getting me all emotional. My youngest is a senior in high school this year. Oldest starting junior year at Hanover. Hopefully, we’ve done a good job of instilling that thought in them. They certainly don’t need us as much anymore.

  2. You think you’re emotional? I’m the one who cried because her 3-year-old put a shirt on all by herself! lol

  3. I so feel you on this!! Sometimes I am in awe of what a little person Teagan is becoming. And then I turn around and Zach is doing things on his own… like picking up trash and taking it to the trash can without being asked. Blows me away!

    And I hear Bill, too. My brothers are entering sophomore year of college and entering junior year of high school. I still vividly remember the night each was born. Time flies by…

  4. I was thinking about this more on my drive home…

    What’s interesting is that we have to adjust to how they need us. Because they always do. But the way they need us changes. I’m 35 and still have ways that I “need” my mom! So I guess adapting to and recognizing those changing needs is what really matters.