They don’t just grow up, they grow away.
From the moment children are born, they are an appendage.
They want mommy every waking moment and wake you the other moments.
You take care of every need, desire, whim, joy, fear, victory, and defeat.
Iremember occasionally thinking, “What, you want to nurse again? I JUST fed you!”
Or, “You wet the bed again? That’s so much extra laundry!”
Along with tremendous maternal love, these responses are also mixed in with a little frustration, a little selfishness and a lot of fatigue.
Their needs and demands weigh on body, soul and spirit in God-perfecting design of creating a Mommy. You learn to set your own desires and needs aside for someone who truly is dependent on you for everything.
There can be so much overstimulation for mommy, and we don’t want to hear our name one more time. We can actually crave alone time. If you haven’t been able to use the restroom alone for awhile, you’re at this stage.
You learn to deny yourself and take care of the precious one you have been entrusted with and through the sacrificial living, you grow more patient, more kind, more loving, more understanding and less selfish.
Just about the time you seem to adjust to having them clamoring over you, around you, beside you, near you, on you, in front of you, behind you, under you, next to you and with you, they begin to pull away.
Desiring independence, they aren’t as bound to Mommy for help in making decisions, nurturing and affirmation. But, you always have to be available, a r m ‘ s l e n g t h away, in case they need a hug or an owie kissed, even though they say they are too old for that.
Then, when you are adjusted to the arm’s length distance, they go to shouting range. They think they shouldn’t need you, don’t think they can admit they need you, but eventually cry out if there is a serious need.
Especially, if it’s a financial need.
Especially, if something was damaged, like a car.
We love responding to their emotional and spiritual needs, like when they are having troubles with friends, they’re lonely, they’re faced with hard life decisions orwhen they’re trying to make their own Biblical convictions.
They may try to go on their own, but they really can’t. They might wrongly believe that independence is standing alone; but independence is learning to depend on self, while being upheld by others. Real life is all about burden-bearing.
At this stage they hopefully realize strong relationships help you through life, and it really is OK if some of those supporting relationships include their parents.
Somewhere after shouting range and moving out of the house, it becomes cell phone range.
This stage can bounce between the emotional needs of arm’s length and shouting range, varying from deep to surface needs. They have learned to call just to chat, catch up on the family, talk about their job, get a recipe or tell you about something they bought for a really good deal. They even begin to call to ask how you are doing. You’ve become friends.
But when they call for advice, you feel like Esther, standing in awe and relief because the king extended the sceptor, and you know they will listen to you. Every morsel of love and conviction swell up and you talk heart-to-heart, marveling and rejoicing that they are really, really, really listening. As you fellowship, you strengthen your relationship as spiritual siblings.
Ya’ wanna’ know something?
Even though I love my kids at every stage, and I love watching them grow, sometimes I miss the appendage stage.
I really do.
Sure, it’s nice to usually use the bathroom undisturbed,
but sometimes I glance towards the door,
just dreaming about those
that used to reach under the wood,
Then, I go check my cell phone for messages.