There is a progression of motherhood…a timeline we all follow. Some of us go through kicking and screaming, while others cheer louder with each smidge of progress towards the finish line.
Our children inch closer to adulthood, while we apparently inch closer to the floor.
I have lost 3/4 of an inch in height since my son left for college.
And with each new stage, each startling new trick or terrifying new skill we adjust our mothering to suit it.
- He climbs trees? We add the Urgent Care Center to our speed dial.
- Projectile vomiting? Nothing a Swiffer, rubber gloves and a few paper towels can’t handle.
- He wants to dress himself? We buy all red, white and blue clothing so that he will always look patriotic even when he isn’t quite matching.
- He wants to get his Driver’s License? We increase our blood pressure meds and buy a set of rosary beads.
- He wants to live off-campus? We write rent checks and hope he has a decent meal now and then.
I have been through so many stages of motherhood with my college kid, I have lost count. There are days when I can barely remember those first few stages, the why-isn’t-he-sleeping-through-the-night stage or the just-stop-teething-already stage.
Some were particularly ugly.
But woven together, stacked one on top of the other year after year these stages make up the mother I am today. It’s too late to change any of the things we went through. No do-overs, no returns, no refunds and no time machine travel.
Would I have done anything differently? I’m not sure I even know that answer.
I am faced with the dilemma that I am not done mothering, not quite yet.
But there are days when I want to be done.
See, the problem with mothering is that you are never really finished. It’s not that I didn’t know this… I just didn’t understand.
Grown-up kids need parents too.
And in time, years from now, in those last stages of motherhood, I will need my kids more than they will need me.
They will finally be living their own lives as adults, possibly raising families of their own. And I will be able to relax and know that I did the very best job I could have done. I passed the final exam, graduated. Finished the last stage.
But I am pretty sure I will still find a way to keep on worrying.
This post originally ran on Moonfrye