My daughter asked me to be a mother today. The house was emotionally chaotic and she asked me this as we huddled in the bedroom with the volume up to drown out the sound of my husband parenting our son; our twenty-two year old son. How did we even get to this moment?
To be fair she didn’t ask me to be a mother specifically but she did wish I would ask her to come to bed instead of allowing her all the time to stay up late playing Fortnite. Yep you read that right. I’ve been pretty lax with the rules lately. If I’m completely honest the rules are almost non-existent. I am one of those parents, I’m forty and tired and chasing dreams later in life and I am far from perfect. I have three kids, a twenty -two year old step son, except I’ve been in his life since he was eleven so the step doesn’t really apply. I have an eighteen year old daughter and a nine year old daughter. We have a “his, mine, and ours ” type of situation.
Our life has been full of ups and downs, full of tragedy and heartbreak but also full of indescribable joy. I spent many years being the Mom with rules and standards to live up to, constantly measuring myself and my kids against other families. Over time that became unbearable and I chose to stop, though I must admit I still care, but not near as much. I was tired, I still am.
Yesterday my oldest daughter moved out and it wasn’t expected. I never really thought she would stay long, but just like me she desires to be free to live her own life; I can’t fault her for that. Funny thing is my eighteen year old couldn’t wait to break free but my twenty-two year old, I’m sure wants to live here forever.
Without airing our family’s dirty laundry, just know my husband and I are very tired, let’s be honest here aren’t most parents? I thought the hardest part was the infant and toddler years but it’s the teen and early adult years that are heart breaking. I’ve worked so hard to loosen the reigns with my adult children that inadvertently I loosened the reigns with my nine year old.
I was so tired fighting the teenage battle that I had nothing left for my baby. Here’s the light switch. My older babies are no longer babies, it’s time for me to let them go and make necessary cuts and hard choices so that I can raise the baby. I have to switch gears. Thankfully my youngest is a very wise soul and knew that her mother needed to hear the words, that translated to “I need you to be a mother to me.”
I can still be the mother that doesn’t measure herself and her children against others but I must be the mother my children need. It’s time to let my adult children grow on their own and be the mother to my youngest that she very much deserves.