Mother love

Since Rachel broke her arm two weeks ago, I’ve had to give her far more physical help than she’s needed in years. She needs help getting her breakfast, washing up,and getting dressed. It’s been an interesting step back into the days of her toddler years. It’s left me thinking about how quickly my kids’ needs change, and how I’ve had to find new ways of connecting and showing them love as they’ve become more independent.

When they were very small (as Sophie still is), they needed so much physical care. Love is given with every tooth brushed and bottom wiped and every boo boo kissed better. Then one day they are potty trained, they can reach the bandaids on their own, and “Look Mommy, I brushed all by myself” is the next big thing. And that’s great. Until it’s your last baby, and you’re left wondering “Now what?”. What do I do to show them I love them when it used to be all about putting cereal in their bowl?

It’s a steep learning curve my friends. Rachel, being the oldest, has born the brunt of that curve. I’ve had to find new ways to connect with her and love on her that are meaningful and special, but not built around her physical care. Letting her gain independence, teaching her how to take care of herself, letting her learn from her own mistakes. There’s beauty and pain in the process, and it’s so hard to let go of that instinct to “just let mommy do it”.

I’m still learning how to do it gracefully. Letting go and hanging on at the same time. It changes with each year and each kid and each circumstance. The mothering takes less of a physical toll, but the emotional one is far greater. It has stretched me and challenged me in ways I never imagined. And it’s made me feel more awe for every mother who’s gone before me and come out the other side a success.