When they need you less and less

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I was talking to my mom on the phone last night and she said “Jack’s needing us less & less”.   It’s true – he even wanted to go out trick or treating with friends this year (but we worked it out that our families all went together).   The truth of the matter is that he is getting older and while I knew this was coming, I am certainly not prepared for it.

He doesn’t run over to me when I walk in the door, arms outstretched, waiting to jump into my arms, like his little sister, Allie, does.

He doesn’t turn around to wave to me and blow me a kiss when he is walking into school, like his younger brother, Ethan, still does.

He doesn’t need my help with homework, or sounding out words, or getting ready for things anymore, like his brother, Beau, does.

It’s really a blessing, I suppose.  He is growing into the young man that I wanted him to be.  Independent, polite, kind, strong…  yet I miss my little boy that needed me.

He is into football now – “into” is a word that I use lightly.  He watches it or talks about it 24/7.   Gone are the days of playing cars on the ‘street’ rug,  or baking all day with mom – he’d rather play sports or watch them.  (Don’t get me wrong… I can still get his attention with the sound of the mixer and pull him in with the promise of a taste of the batter, but he doesn’t ask me like he used to)

So, where does this leave me?   Let me tell you- this leaves me LEARNING to do the things that he loves.   Yes, I have watched Mickey play football for 20 years, through high school, college, and coaching our kids…
(here we were… years ago… I know no more about football now than I did then.)

No, I haven’t learned much more than the fact that there are 4 downs and that you can “sack the quarterback” but I mostly got that part because of the cheer that my mom taught Allie: “Push ’em back, Push ’em back… way back!”    However… now, at 33, I will learn this sport.  I will not only learn it, but I will love it… because he loves it.

I never watched wrestling.  I didn’t care about it.   Beau, Jack and Ethan wrestle.   Guess who will be the new #1 wrestling fan?   Becky Mansfield, that’s who.  

Yes, we will watch sports together.  I’ll watch NFL football and cheer for teams and pick sides.  I will sport my Steeler clothes around and get a Panther’s shirt to show him support (Jack is a Panther’s Fan while Mic is a Steelers fan… Jack was born in Charlotte, but Mic and I were born in Pittsburgh).  Yes, I will do it because I love him.

That’s what we can do when they need us less & less.  We become more & more involved.

This is the time when this transition can either bond you or separate you, slowly, and I am not willing to ever let that happen.   I will choose to enjoy math because Jack enjoys it (Oh, goodness… let me channel my inner-Tim Hoffman for that one… my brother, a Dr. of Mathematics… not at all like me… I’m a writer, a reader, certainly not a math person).

I will channel my inner Under Armour-obsession, I will channel my inner football coach, I will channel my inner Harry Potter, and I will channel my inner artist… because these are things that Jack loves and so I will love them, too.

Add them to the list of cars that Beau loves, soccer that Ethan loves and Princesses that Allie loves.

We are mothers… through the baby stage, the young-child stage, the tween stage, the teenager stage and the adult stage.   I have seen my own parents transform their interests to mine.

Asking me about things that I do, that I know they wouldn’t be interested in, if it weren’t for us.    Yet, they are interested.

I will do the same.
I will work harder now, as my children get older…
I will love what they love, do what they do, read what they read.
I will do it all because I want to teach my children that if they think it is important, so do I.

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