So, the other day I came across my first offer to take part in a “link up”: an opportunity where a bunch of bloggers write about a specific topic and link to the original website that suggested it, on The Activity Mom. To see more, or take part your self!, you can click on the link below:
I was all set to write about how I’d gotten a ladle & a little pitcher so Br (3 3/4) could scoop his own cereal out of the box & pour himself milk for his breakfast. I took a picture. I was mentally preparing how I would write about what a proud Mommy I was to see my first-born child taking off in his confidence and abilities….
But then yesterday, as I was working on the laptop, I heard Br call out “I’m thirsty. Can you get me something to drink Mama?” I replied “Okay, hold on…,” as I started extracting myself from what I was enmeshed in. I heard the rustling traces of Br grabbing his cup off the table and moving to the kitchen. As I started to lift myself off the couch with an “I’m coming…”, I was shocked to hear the sound of the water pouring from the refrigerator dispenser. Next thing I heard was ” I got it, Mommy.”
I stopped. Oh.
Then I felt the hitch in my chest and the corresponding thought: “my child didn’t need me.”
Now, I support my child’s independence. I try to give him every opportunity to do things for himself and learn about things that I can think of. But every step before, or at least every step before I had noticed, I had guided & cheered him through those initial attempt(s) until he was ready to try it on his own:
“Do you want to try going down the slide by yourself this time? Mommy can catch you at the bottom…”
“Dip the paintbrush in the water, then use that to get the paint wet. Swirl it around. Look at all the color on your brush!”
“Look at how your foot is curved on the inside. The shoe has a curve on the inside too. That’s how you know which foot to put it on!”
“Ok, see that tag in the back of your underwear? Put that in the back, between your feet…”
This time, I wasn’t even in the room watching. Hadn’t even suggested it. Apparently Br had watched us do it enough times, had grown tall enough while no one was paying attention, that he could do it all on his own without any of us realizing it. Until Br realized it on his own today.
I am sure it is not the last time my heart will be slapped with that particular hitch. Heck, Br is less than 2 months away from being 4 years old. I hear age 4 is ALL about “Let me do it myself!”
And there will be bike riding, and car driving, and first jobs, and graduations, and marrying, and all kinds of bigger opportunities than getting a glass of water that my little boy won’t need me anymore. My JOB as a parent is to raise a child that can function INDEPENDENTLY in the world , though hopefully also with compassion & a conscience.
Like first loves (and isn’t your first-born child a whole other version of that?), THIS first will leave a mark and change the way I think about myself: a mother, but someday that will no longer be my primary “defining role”.
I guess I have some work to do on my independence as well.
“Hey, Br, can you get me a glass of water? I’ve got some important stuff to work on…”