On Mixed Blessings

>> Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sometimes it feels as if you'll never be free of them.

Your children, I mean.

From the moment they're born it's as if they are surgically attached to you, needing feeding, cleaning, comforting, every waking hour of the day.  You rarely consider it a burden, of course (or at least - rarely during daylight hours.  At 3.00am it's a different story altogether - it can seem pretty burdensome at that time of the morning).

And when you do think about it, you remind yourself that this is not going to be for ever.  "It's only until they can crawl / walk / are potty trained / can talk / start nursery / start school" you think.  But for each milestone they pass - going to the loo unaided, feeding themselves for a whole meal without requiring a complete change of clothes (for them and you), describing for themselves which book they want to reach down from the high shelf - it seems as if there is always a next one to be reached.

There IS always a next one to be reached.  And few of them seem to result in your being needed less; they simply result in your being needed in a different way.

For example; you may not need to wipe your child's bottom clean any longer, but you are required to come up with new and interesting ways to get them to eat their vegetables - or new and interesting ways to keep from exploding with frustration when they won't.  You may not need to push them in their buggy when you walk down the street, but you need to help them understand how close they can be to the edge of the kerb on their scooter and still be safe at the same time.

Or, you may not need to play peekaboo for four hours straight to stop them kicking the back of the seat in front on that long plane journey, but you need to be able to come up with some kind of reasonable explanation for why you aren't emptying your entire wallet into the pockets of a homeless beggar hanging around outside your hotel when you reach your destination.

And when you do these things you know progress is being made, and that you're passing milestones, but you don't seem to get any closer to your ultimate destination as a loving parent; that of raising a well-balanced, responsible and independent  human being who can live without you.

This week, though, it happened.

I no longer need to drop my younger son off at his classroom door in the morning, or pick him up directly outside it.  It's not that I have absolutely needed to up until now; he's capable of getting there by himself from the front of the school and has been for a while, it's just that until now, we both preferred it when I walked him to the door.

But this term, his older brother has started to do it.

And I'm not needed.


Anonymous,  1 September 2012 at 16:33  

Maybe not for classroom drop-off but you'll be in high demand when it comes to party/pub/club drop-off and even worse *gasp* ........ collection.... at 11.30 every Saturday night!

Expat mum 1 September 2012 at 19:37  

Like Lottie, I cold probably add about 20 items to the list for when they get into their teens and beyond. However, not only is my 9 year old able to walk to school with his big brother now (same start time), he is going to be a K-Walker. This means that he is deemed old enough to help get the teeny ones out of cars and safely to their classrooms. When did he get so big?

Expat mum 1 September 2012 at 19:37  

Has just inspired my next blog post. Thank you. xx (Nothing like leaving things till the last minute eh?)

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