A mother’s heart can be such a delicate balance of conflicting emotion. One part of us wants our children to hurry up and wean, hurry up and potty train, hurry up and gain some independence already. And yet at the same time some other part of us wants them to never do any of those things and to remain exactly as they are forever. In fact, when the inevitable happens and they do gain some self-sufficiency, don’t our hearts ache just a little bit at what feels like the ultimate betrayal?
I remember one day last year when a friend with older children remarked that pretty soon my biggest kids would be old enough to baby sit the littler ones and I would gain some freedom.
“No way!” I gasped. “No way!”
But in that very same moment of denial some small part of me was scheming. I was plotting a variety of sippy cup-free excursions: Carefree trips to the drugstore… Leisurely trips to the library… Dinners out with Dan.
“Hmmmm, really you think so?” I asked my friend.
Similar emotions have been battling within me this week too. Kateri is spending the week at my parents’ house with her 11 year old cousin. It’s the longest I have ever been separated from any of my children. In the evening, when I read her emails and look over the pictures she sends, part of me is thinking, “So sniff… This is what it’s like to hear from your child who is off on her own and doing her own thing… sniff-sniff.”
But another part of me is thinking “Hmmmm So this is what it’s like to hear from your child who is off on her own doing her own thing.” And that part of me is smiling.
Then that evil part of me starts to wish that each child had come with his own set of grandparents. Then we could drive to the different grandparents’ houses and drop each kid off with a suitcase. That would free us up for a couple of weeks next February so that Dan and I could escape for our own private luxury trip to the Bahamas.
We would keep in touch by email, of course. We would look at the pictures they sent us and miss them as we sat on the beach sipping our Pina Coladas. Then we’d go snorkeling or take a dip in the hot tub before going out for a lobster dinner.
Ha, ha… Just kidding, of course. We would never really leave all of our kids and take off for the Bahamas.
We’d go to Tahiti.