The becoming that happens to us

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You are 17 “and a half”, as you like to remind me.

As if being 18 will make you a real adult.

Not 18, not 20, not 28……

I think real adulthood settles in somewhere in the 30’s, I FINALLY feel like I’ve gotten there. But probably 15 years from now I’ll be thinking how I still didn’t have a clue back then….. when I was just 39.

I think a lot about how much I’ll miss you, because again, you like to remind me how soon you’ll be leaving. Off to college, adventure, LIFE.

You laugh at me because I finally start tearing up every time we talk about it, when before I was just on your case about not missing deadlines and getting all those college visits scheduled.

Of course I love you. But I have grown to really, really like you. The person you are. I dread you being gone from my day to day routine. I feel sad for myself, and for everyone that will have to put up with me after you leave.

I was driving home today, thinking about how people become parents, and more specifically how women become moms.

You are the person who first made me a mom.

When did I start to FEEL like a mom?

It wasn’t when you lived inside of me or even  just after having you. I wanted you, I loved you, but I can look back now and say no, I didn’t feel like a mom yet.

I grew into it, as you grew.

We reached milestones together, mine as your mother, and yours as a growing child. My self consciousness as a parent gone by the time you hit preschool….and I fought with anyone who would dare stop you from hugging your friends goodbye, or from keeping chapstick in your backpack.

I became strong for you, from being your mom.

I’m still becoming, I don’t think we ever really stop. And again, you have been the catalyst for so many of the things I have become… A mom, the mom of a teenager, soon to be the mom of a child who has grown up enough to leave home…and one day the mom left at home as the rest of your siblings follow you.

And I like to believe the things I tell you about our relationship. How it will change as you grow older, and right now I know you are so ready to get away…but that eventually you will come back. I tell you how close we will be, even closer. I believe this, and want you to believe it too.

You are becoming independent, and I know I’ve pushed a bit lately, worried I’ve sheltered you too much and wanting to make sure you can handle it alone…ordering pizza by yourself and making your own appointments…buying your own tampons. (Alright, we both know I’m going to send you care packages with all that stuff plus chocolate…). But still, being away is going to be so new and exciting…that for a while I am going to become more of an obligation. You will HAVE to call your mom, you will HAVE to spend time with us on breaks from school…you won’t need me the way you did before.

But time has this way of going on…and as you are becoming an adult, a wife, a mom, I will be there right along with you. Becoming your friend, a mother-in-law, a grandmother…

I am so grateful for this journey, and for having you to share it with me.

This is what being a Mom IS…

I love to smell my daughters feet…….

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I don’t know how I realized this, but I find myself grabbing those little feet and just inhaling whenever she is near….and just loving that they are so soft, and little, and warm. And they ALMOST smell…..like feet. I cherish it, because one day they are going to REALLY smell like feet, and doubt I will willingly bury my face in them anymore.

I have these little moments, in the middle of the chaos that comes with having 4 children, where I just take a minute to savor the odd moment, before I need to scream at someone for tracking play-doh all over the floor. again.

I’ve got two teens, and they find great pleasure in suddenly turning on me, usually in the middle of my speech about growing up, taking on more responsibility, chewing with their mouths closed…and holding me down to tickle me. This freaks me out, and I really fight to get away, all the while laughing and trying not to pee myself as I try to call them off. My gasping pleas for release are ignored, as they assume my threats are not real because I can’t stop laughing. I really hate that. But I love it, and then I ground them…. for like 5 minutes.

It’s not always fun and games. I’m strict and if you ask my 4 year old who the “mean” one is, the pointer finger zooms right to me. BUT, I’m the one he runs to for kisses, I’m the one he picks as his “favorite” whenever I ask him (ssshhh, I know I’m not supposed to do that), in fact, the only time he runs to his Dad, is to get away from me at bedtime, when he decides he’s not so fond of me after all.

My days home are a blur of cleaning, laundry, cooking, spacing out at the computer for brief moments, changing diapers, feeding, shopping, and plenty of yelling and threatening to never get you a slushy from Target again if you don’t pick up those toys Right Now!

My own 16 year old daughter is convinced that being a mother is the worst job a person could have. I am her reason for never wanting children…as she loves to tell me. I think it’s funny that I felt the same as her, at her age, living with my mom and being one of her 5 children. UGH, talk about a circus.

And yes, I dream of sleeping in one day, and not having to take care of anyone but myself, getting my hair done whenever I want, or just going OUT…..alone!! It’s so exciting when those moments happen!

Yet, as I tell my daughter, I would be lost without them. I’ve had kids for so LONG, I don’t even know who I would be without them. They define me by this point. My time is measured by their first steps, first smiles, even the first time my son told me he hated me. Ouch. I don’t forget these firsts, and I love to remember and cherish those million random things that just make this job extra special.

Like squeezing little butts, using social media to embarrass my teens, and trying to squeeze them all onto my lap for a quick pic before I am squished to death. They are crazy kids, they often do really really stupid things…. no really, it’s true. But they are MINE, and I cherish it, I do. I love watching them grow, sharing their lives, and of course…smelling their feet. 🙂