Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Long Goodbye

I had a thought last week that made me inconsolably sad.

Ever since Judah was a baby, he was so needy. Needy for hugs, needy for attention, needy for interaction, needy for ME.

Back when he was 1 and I was his whole world.

Sometimes he would sense my exasperation and say, "It's okay mommy, you can leave now."

And with great relief and a quiet prayer of thanks, I would free myself from his suffocating grip. Finally, a little "me" time. Time to do all the things I want to do (aka, watching netflix with a bowl of ice cream).

But the thought hit me - in a few years, we will trade places.

I will want him to hang out with me. To share his thoughts with me. To share his heart with me. To stay awhile. And sensing his exasperation, I will say, "It's okay honey, you can leave now."

You can go hang out with your friends. Go to that party. Go play your video game. Go to your fortress of teen solitude, aka, your room, and shut the door.

And he will be relieved that his needy mom has finally released him to carry on with the things that he really enjoys.

For all the pains of parenthood, it is this pain that aches the most, by far.

The inexorable march toward independence - independence in every way.

I will look back at the small boy who left me dozens of love notes every week. All the crumpled flowers he picked to put in those notes. All the hearts he cut out "for love, because I love you mommy."

The things that were so mundane and taken for granted. So rote and common place.

Asking for hugs. Asking to sit on my lap. Asking for ME.

Already he asks for hugs about half the amount he did last year. Already he much prefers to play with his friends than with me. "Sorry, but you don't really know how to play Bionicles, mommy."

Already he has started leaving me.

Back when he was 2 and only wanted to play with me.

For so long I wondered how to help Judah be more independent. I scoured the wisdom of the interwebs and googled "emotionally needy child." And now I have my double-edged sword.

Darn it if it doesn't hurt. Darn if I'm not crying right now as I type this.

And darn if I don't spend the next few years, whatever years I have left, trying to catch every little drop of love Judah sends my way.

Back when he was 4 and told me everyday I am the most beautiful girl in the world - even more beautiful than Elsa.

And you bet I'll be frantically googling a new topic from this day on - how to make your kids like you more so they don't ever want to move too far away.

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