I want you to think back. Waaaaay back. Back to a time when you lived, very cozily (albeit slightly contorted), in my belly…
Even though I know you don’t really remember this particular time in our lives, I remember it vividly. (Maybe a little too vividly. You know, sciatica and all.) Because it was the time when we first started to really get close. You know, the time when we were very literally connected at the hip (just from the inside) and did absolutely everything together.
Well, I miss that time. I miss it a lot. Because wherever I went, you were there. And you couldn’t go anywhere without me. It was the perfect kind of crowd control.
Flash forward to when you were actually born and I got to hold you in my arms. When I got to stare endlessly at your perfect little face, hour after day after week after month, even when stuff that didn’t agree with your cute little belly came projectiling out of your mouth and onto my face.
That was when we were both the first person each other wanted to see when we woke up every morning and Daddy used to have to pry you out of my arms to put you in your crib every night. It’s when we used to just sit together all day, counting your toes or playing with blocks or strollering miles around the neighborhood. It’s when I’d read you story after story that you didn’t understand and sing you miserably-off-key lullabies that you never seemed to mind. And all you’d ever do was smile up at me and beg for more. (At least it seemed like begging from my angle.)
I miss all that, too.
Then you grew up a little and we became buddies—like inseparable peas in a newly mobile pod. Because once you could walk and talk, it was a whole new game. We were at the beach or the park or the market or the library or in the garden. You were in the bike trailer only a few inches behind me, or on a chair next to me at the kitchen counter learning how to crack eggs. Like never-left-each-other’s-side kind of together. And I loved that. Because that’s how we learned so much about each other. It’s how we learned to trust and respect and love and truly enjoy each other. It’s how we became mother and daughter.
I mean, sure, you had your little playdates and started to go to school and made friends and your world expanded way wider than just our little mother-daughter circle. But even in spite of all that, you never stopped wanting to spend time together. And that’s what I loved the most. Because God knows, I never stopped wanting to spend time with you.
And then you grew up even more and your relationships with other people deepened and time became an actual commodity in your life that you had to learn to ration. And you started putting all those little life skills I taught you to use. Which led to meeting more people and doing more things on your own and the circumference of your life got even wider.
All good, though. Because the cycle of life necessitates that I teach you how to stand and walk and run and survive on your own. So, mission accomplished.
But the more I think about it lately, now that you’re older and have a pretty firm grip on your own life, I think teaching you all that stuff may have been a major tactical mistake on my part. Because it gave you all the skills you needed to be independent and forge out on your own. Cause if I had been a little more lax with all that, maybe you’d still need me a little more and you wouldn’t be so f-ing self-sufficient and responsible. And you’d still have to rely on me for everything. Which, in turn, means we’d still be spending the kind of time together that we did when you were little. Because ICYMI from all the hints I constantly drop, I still crave that time. I still want to be hugged and followed around and spooned.
Now here’s my actual appeal…
Look, I know you don’t need me anymore in most of the ways you used to need me. And it’s on me as your mom to keep chanting to myself, every morning on my yoga mat, that it’s ok that you don’t. I also know that you’ve got a big, beautiful circle of friends who are all vying for your time. Which I love. And I know that you need to incorporate a little downtime into your super-busy days that’s just for you. (Gotta stay caught up with all those social media feeds.)
And you need to sleep and eat and do mindless stuff like aimlessly drive around town with your friends blasting your music and wasting my gas. But I want you to remember that in spite of all of the day-to-day responsibilities that consume your time now, I’m still here. And I’m still firmly planted on the sidelines of your life, cheering for you and squirting water into your mouth when you need it. And I still long for you to throw me the occasional smile as you dribble the ball past me and down the metaphorical field of your life.
I get that our relationship is different now. It’s supposed to be. And you’ll do the same someday with your own kids. No matter how busy I am in my own life, though, I’ll always drop everything for you. I’ll cancel any plans or hang up on any friend just to spend a few seconds of time with you. Because now that you’re more or less a grown up, I know you’ve got a whole world of people and responsibilities and distractions to fill your time. Which is why I’m only asking to fit somewhere in the cracks of all that other stuff. I just need you to make a little space for me, ok? Just a smidge.
So here it is. Here’s what I’m asking…
In your infinitely busy life, just try to remember that as you become a lot of different things to a lot of different people, you’ll always be my child and I’ll always be your mom. And I’ll always be grateful for any little crumb of time you can toss my way that will ensure that we always stay connected.
So toss me a crumb now and then, would you? It’s all I really need to keep me going.
Mommy loves you. xo
Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at Lisa Sugarman. Or, find them on LittleThings.com, BeingaMom.life, GrownandFlown.com and Care.com.She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is and Untying Parent Anxiety (Years 5-8): 18 Myths that Have You in Knots – And How to Get Free