Right now the children are scavenging hungrily in the kitchen, trying to find something to eat for breakfast. The pancakes and granola are gone, as is the emergency box of Cheerios that was set aside for such catastrophes, and I forgot to make the overnight waffle batter yesterday so the entire house is waffle-less.
Fortunately, there is yogurt, fruit, bread, and eggs so the kids have something from which to cobble together a somewhat balanced, yet slightly off kilter nutritionally morning meal.
Most exciting of all my offspring are foraging somewhat independently for their own breakfast. One daughter made a fruity yogurt concoction, another scrambled eggs in the microwave, while my son cut his own lopsided pieces of bread for toasting.
Meanwhile, I was here at the computer, offering guidance from the sidelines.
That seems to be my new role these days: the cheerleader from the sidelines, the advisor from the shadows, the nervous Nellie in the corner trying to let her children make their own decisions.
It’s exciting and scary, this new phase of parenting I’m in. All three of my kids are becoming increasingly self-reliant. I am no longer needed for many of the things that I had done for my children in the past. Which is good and exciting and freeing, but also sad and lonely and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
Last week my son didn’t ask me for help the entire week with his pre-algebra. The explanations and examples in the book were enough for him to understand the concepts and do the work on his own. Part of his success comes from the foundation I have given him in the past but a large portion of it comes from the fact that decimals are his mathematical jam- he gets them in a way I don’t quite understand.
That pretty much sums up what I do now as a Mom: I watch these individuals I love so completely take the things I have taught them in the past and blaze new trails with it.
As a Mom, I’m constantly worrying if I gave them enough to work with while nervously watching them navigate their way into the new territories of adolescence. I struggle to swoop in only when they truly need me and not when I want to feel needed.
It’s so, so much harder than I thought it would: not the parenting of these older kids, but the struggle to not parent them when they don’t need it. It feels similar to giving birth. The pushing wasn’t my hard part, it was not pushing until the appropriate time.
No gratuitous pushing. That’s my new motto.
I wonder if that comes on a t-shirt?