I was sitting on the couch waiting for her to finish getting ready for bed. It was an hour later than usual because we had spent time outside enjoying the summer breezes that we can’t seem to get enough of. I was annoyed because putting kids to bed an hour later than normal comes with its own set of challenges.
The boys were crazy as usual, and I can’t seem to get them ready for bed fast enough. They claim they’re hungry right as I see the finish line, and I put them to bed frustrated and exhausted. I’m not sure who is more frustrated and exhausted. Me or them.
As I sat staring at my phone waiting for her to be done so I could tuck her into bed, she slid next to me on the couch wanting to peer over my shoulder at Facebook like she does. I stood up immediately and walked away just as she was about to lean against me.
I just wanted them all in bed. So I could have time for myself. I can barely keep my eyes open at night right now because our summer days are packed with activity and outside play. They are tired. I’m tired. And, I need my time alone. She understands that right?
I said I’d meet her in her room and I saw her climb into bed and realized how lucky I was that she still wanted me there. Tucking her in.
I slid into her tiny twin bed on top of her hot pink comforter and snuggled up beside her. She had just flipped her bed around while I was out of town, and she was looking at the moon out her window. I looked too and neither of us said a word.
I wondered what she was thinking as she looked up at the bright moon above the giant mountain outside her window, and I wondered if she ever wondered about what I was thinking. I wanted to ask her for reassurance for some reason. I wanted to say something selfish like, I’m a good mom, right? But, I didn’t. Because I worry my own insecurities about mothering come bubbling out way too often anyway. So, I just laid there next to her listening to her breathe.
We stared at the moon together as our breathing fell into rhythm.
She’s turning 10 in 10 days. It takes my breath away to think that in eight more years she might be gone. It’s going too fast and I want to cry as I lay in her tiny bed wondering if she’s replaying something I said to her that day.
I felt the push and pull of motherhood in that moment. I want them to become more independent and do things like brush their teeth the right way, and fix their own breakfast, and just not need me as much, but I pull them back in an instant when I see the days are numbered and they really don’t need me that much anymore.
I push them to go play outside then struggle to remember, at the end of the day, if I played with them enough. I want to pull them back in, wake them up, and tell them to stay little forever.
It’s a constant push and pull I feel everyday.
Push them away, pull them back in.
It feels overwhelming to want them to grow and not grow all at the same time. It feels selfish and necessary, and like I might not survive the emotions that motherhood makes me feel day in and day out.
Just go play. PUSH.
Come here and snuggle. PULL
Can’t you get it yourself? PUSH.
Let me do it for you. PULL.
It’s like a swing. Motherhood lulls you into a rhythm that feels so natural and easy, but you know at some point you will have to get off and you’ll miss that push and pull. The back and forth.
We talked a little about a couple of things I thought she might be thinking about. I kissed her goodnight knowing full well that one day she won’t let me lie with her in her bed with her like that. One day, I simply won’t fit anymore.
So for now, I keep pushing and pulling, keeping my rhythm everyday until I’m forced to get off. I’ll barely notice it most days as the hours and days fly by. But, some days I’ll recognize what I’m doing and push them out, only to pull them back in hours later.
You’re big now, you can do it. PUSH.
Don’t go. Stay here with mama forever. PULL.
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