It Will Keep
Dear busy mum,
I was once you and I have to tell you, it will all wait.
I was where you are, I endured the endless hours trapped in a chair, feeding, bottle or breast, it was still trapped.
I suffered the endless toddler walks where you just couldn’t do anything to hurry them up. It felt like torture at the time. Oh, yes, I smiled, pointed out the fuzzy caterpillar, stopped said caterpillar from becoming morning tea, stepped obediently over the cracks and inwardly gritted my teeth at the indomitable delay.
I felt that frustration of having to skip every crack on the footpath, tearing an excited toddler from a potential rabid dog, carried the carefully collected sticks all the way home.
It sometimes seemed such a drag.
But today I took my last child, my number five, my baby, to school and she didn’t want to hold my hand anymore.
You say to yourself that one day it will happen, that independence is good. You will tell yourself that you are finally gaining freedom.
But really your heart will be breaking.
You will know that it is on its way, you will have seen the signs, the baby steps to feeling like a grown up young lady, but nothing can really prepare you for how it feels.
Each time she slip that warm, slightly sweaty hand in yours you will start to think ‘Is this the last time?’
Should I be ferreting this away in my memory as the last time?
You probably don’t realise its significance.
And then you start to look back and think about the other last times, about how you celebrated the last nappy, the last bottle, the last day of childcare and how you celebrated those milestones.
Yes, they made your life easier in that moment, but now it feels different.
By letting go of your hand they are letting you know that they don’t need you so much, not need, not need. They are growing up and this step of independence hurts somehow. Your role in their life somehow seems diminished. It’s not of course, they still need you but this feels so huge, you won’t want to forget. You don’t want to wake up to yourself one day and think ‘when did she stop taking my hand?’ that will feel worse.
So take your time Mum, the dishes will wait, that cup of tea will wait, everything will wait.
Hold her hand.
You might miss that moment when it was the last time and you will need that memory. Believe me, it will be worth it. Because in all the firsts that will come with your young lady as she grows up, it’s the memory of that warm little hand holding yours and all the trust and comfort that goes with it that will mean the most.