Letting go of showing up for everything

IMG_0659This week, I’m reposting one of my favorite posts as part of a “Whole Lotta Love” link-up, highlighting a post that flopped, a post didn’t get enough love when it was first posted.

This represents a sweet turning point for me as I realized how I was letting change happen, how it became clear that this mom, physically and mentally, couldn’t keep up anymore. And that it was ok.

The girls are in double digits now. It’s time to stop looking like the shell-shocked guy in my daughter’s picture, left, with too many parachutes in the air. This post was where it started:


Recently, I found myself sitting in a warm car in a mall parking lot just after sun-up with B. Under grey skies, the car running for heat, we listened to a CD someone had made for us that we both liked. She burbled like a fountain about her day. We were waiting for a teammate and his parent to meet us and drive her an hour away to a hockey game. She was surprisingly excited, considering she didn’t know this family well. I, cozy in slippers and sweat pants, sipping tea, was totally grateful to this parent, thrilled to be going home after this drop-off.

One of the worries hovering in the back of my mind is the small stain of loneliness that spreads when the girls have big-life experiences without me. I’ve gone to almost every ballet performance, show, recital, game or pubic event open to me. It was exciting. This is part of what I’m parenting for, these celebrations marking my children’s life. Even if I’ve been bored – most of these events are things only a mother could love — I’ve wanted to be there for everything, to share what they are doing, seeing, learning. I know part of this is driven by me, but the parenting root of it is that I simply wanted to be there for them, as physically as possible.

If I take that thought to its logical conclusion, then I’d be sitting in small hard chairs running back and for between the third and fifth grades every day so I wouldn’t miss a thing. I’d be sitting in on their play dates, reliving Harry Potter for the 130th time and trying to laugh at fart jokes.  And I simply can’t. I’m just a prim old lady when it comes to poop, and I’m an impatient b*#^h after say, the tenth time of hearing the same thing again. It reminds me of how much I looked forward to going on swings with my toddlers and realizing, with sadness, that what was needed was much more of mommy pushing swings like a robot than mommy getting to fill in missing holes of her childhood.

But I see now, as in all other things, that nature is handling the growing separation beautifully by the carefully modulated method of overwhelm. My brain is physically not capable of handling what they’re doing. Their interests are growing…their awareness of their interests…their opinions of their interests – all soaring exponentially in every direction. I couldn’t keep up with it if I cloned myself 100 times.

I’m fielding their ideas like a tennis-ball pitching machine that has run amok: Why are people camping about banks? Can I have mascara? I’m not doing that because I don’t feel like it! Mom, did you know the Egyptians used to stuff hair up their nose when they died? That food makes me GAG, Mom!

And, dear god, the driving is ramping up this year. Besides our dawn rides, I’ve turned down my first opportunity to pick up my child after a party at 10pm. The part of me that frets about not being there (we’re not even knocking yet at the door of my not being wanted) is way back in line, while my brain open-mouthed with amazement, cogitates make-up and protest movements. Part ADD, part brain freeze, part ruthless, Darwinian choosing of the most important. Whatever – the girls are claiming their own lives, and nature is helping me let them.


This entry was posted in Family life, Nuturing Myself as a Mother, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Letting go of showing up for everything

  1. First Gen American says:

    That was very introspective. Love the Darwin connection. I find myself frequently flashing back to things my own mom did that I never liked or understood and finally getting it. One of the most basic ones was assuming my mom never got tired or had better things to do with her time than to do stuff for me. I am trying hard not to let that perception of motherhood pass onto the next generation.

  2. growingmygirls says:

    I’ve been thinking about that too — just watching my kids assume I have nothing better to do than take care of them! And I hate to admit, I’m not always graceful about it. I hope too not to pass it on!

  3. christine says:

    once again you nailed it. you are so elequent.
    it is getting harder to let go and figure out what I want to do. and then there is the… what will i look like.. a mother without children… And….. what to do with my husband, can we make it together without them? I am a mess….

    • growingmygirls says:

      It feels SO messy, doesn’t it? You are so much closer to this than I am, and it is so, so, so hard to get any kind of clear idea or steam built up for an idea when I can only do it in two to four-hour increments several times a week because I’m still needed as a mother. Or at least, like today, a weekend day, half my mind is needed. Hard to refind myself with half a mind 😉

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