Once upon a time she couldn’t move without me, then she learnt how to. She couldn’t feed without me, not even wipe away porridge from her chubby cheeks, and then I taught her how to. She couldn’t go to the toilet without me, then she went and after she is done calls me out to help her clean up, but before I knew it she did it by herself. Then there came my best stage, when she needed me in the bathroom, to help her out. That stage too, slowly faded out.
School showed up, and she needed me to help her out with everything, from holding the pen, to writing her name on the cover of each book, to covering the books, and even putting them together in the bag. Oh, the sweet times when she needed me to get the bag pack on her back. The memory of her endless questions about everything still lingers, and leaves me with a smile. She could ask about things that up to now I have no explanation, like why chicken are not allowed in the living room to watch TV with us. (Like really? How do we even know they want to watch TV too)
As I write this, she still needs me, every time she is out of the shower she asks for suggestions of what to wear, am training her to choose clothes for herself, and even wash. Soon she will never ask that one. We are also at that stage of holding hands everywhere we go, especially when crossing roads and travelling.
I keep asking myself, what if it gets to a point when she wouldn’t need me, and it kills me to even think of that. That she will be waking up on her own, prepares on her own, COOKS HER OWN EGGS! Then goes out. Oh my!! That one day she will even move out, and she wouldn’t ask me to open the door for her. (Someone help me hold my intestines)
Life is in seasons, and parenting has its season too, every day I have learnt to do what is needed, before it fades away and am needed in a different way. Children always need their parents no matter how old they are, but the needs change, (especially the physical ones) from hourly, to weekly, to monthly, to yearly… some of them never come back, you get to the season, do your best for a few years and it is done!
My desire for every parent is that, no one regrets that ‘I was not there when I was needed to help them change their clothes’, or ‘who taught her how to make her bed? Where was I?’ or, that a season comes, and we feel bothered, instead of helping out we lash out, then when the season goes, we start missing the days when we were asked how to tie a tie.
Which season are you at? Enjoy it while it lasts, and prepare for the next one. You will be trusted more depending on how good you are in this season. If they can trust you in the bathroom now, they will trust you with bigger issues in future, because you were there for them. And when it’s time to let go, allow them to grow.
Parenting is a matter of priority not balancing. Never easy but very possible.