“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)
I was at the doctor’s office with my older two children today. We were there for something minor. One was sitting listening to headphones while the other was just chillaxing. One of the questions on the sheet was whether or not the child was ill today?
Since we weren’t sitting directly next to each other, I bumped my child’s foot and asked (probably a little too loudly), “Hey, are you sick?”
At that question, a man who was down the row slightly lifted his head and looked at me. You know the look. The one that says, “Did you seriously just ask your child if they are sick today?”
I ignored the stare but after a few minutes, inwardly had a good laugh. I had finally become that mom.
When my kids were little, I couldn’t imagine not knowing every single thing there was to know about them. After all, I changed their diapers, controlled what and when they ate as well as set the stage for when and how often they would sleep (or at least rest).
Now I’m nearing the other side of parenting. The side where even though we live in the same house, I couldn’t tell you if my children have eaten breakfast every single day, when or if they have brushed their teeth, or if they feel sick or not. Now that I’m on that side, I realize that’s perfectly normal.
I still visit the grocery store at a minimum twice a month to stock up on healthy food and pleasing snacks, I wash clothes at least twice a week and I cook dinner the majority of nights each week. However, as they get older and more independent, my job physically as a mom lessens but my job emotionally as a mom ramps up. I don’t walk into the bathroom to supervise them brushing their teeth anymore (I trust that they are doing it). I don’t sit over them while they eat breakfast or even pour their cereal. I trust if they’re hungry, they will pour their own bowl.
However, as my job to take care of their physical needs lessens, maybe more than ever, they need me to be there emotionally. To listen to their terrible, horrible, no good very bad day. They need me to say, “Yup, I understand how you feel. I felt the same way.” They need me to rub a shoulder or give a quick hug when they are stuck staying up later than my bedtime finishing a paper, studying for a test or taking time to chillax after a long week.
So, yeah, I had to laugh silently when given the evil eye by the man down the row in the pediatrician’s waiting room. I wonder if he has kids…
© Cheri Swalwell 2016