Over Thanksgiving we spent time with some cousins from out of state that we hardly ever get to see. Leah immediately latched on to her 11 year old (second) cousin and spent the whole day running around with her. Towards the end of the day I wanted to spend a little time with my girl so I took her outside to go for a walk. She fussed and fought and then finally said the words “I don’t want to be with you. I want to be with my cousin” and went running back into the house.
The look on her little 3 year year old face broke my heart. I could suddenly see her 10 years in the future a teenager and rebelling against the rules. Then a few more years I saw her driving and spending all her time with friends and (as much as I hate thinking of it) boys and then a few more years down the road 18 and leaving the house. It all flashed in front of my eyes so quickly. I’m a little ashamed to admit I cried most of the way home that night. And I’m tearing up now writing this.
These early years of parenting are tough. I spend nearly every hour of the day being needed by someone. There’s rarely a time I can go to the bathroom, cook a meal, or even drink a cup of coffee without a kid underfoot. Being a natural introvert, it’s incredibly hard for me to rarely get a moment alone.
But for now they need me.
They need me to help them get dressed. To cook them meals. To teach them how to talk. To hold them when they cry. To drive them to the park. To sit and listen to their stories. Soon they won’t need me.
And that’s the weird juxtaposition of parenting. You want to be needed while molding kids who one day won’t need you. Holding on knowing one day you’ll have to let go. But that day is not today. For now they need me. And that’s okay with me.