Friday, July 13, 2007

When they stop needing me

Will I know? Or will it be so gradual I won't even notice? If I do notice, will it break my heart? I think so. My whole life is centered around taking care of my children and husband, although to his credit he doesn't need much taking care of. There is something very comforting knowing that my family needs me. That I play a key role in our family dynamics and that even though much of what I do is inconsequencial, the most important thing I do can be monumental. I've been thinking about when their very existence doesn't rely so heavily upon me....what will I do then? Who will I be?

Of course memories of my mom are all wrapped around in these thoughts. When did I stop needing her? Not wanting her, not longing to have her hug me, but needing her. She used to come to me (at least in mind) when I needed her most. I'd feel her presence. The weight of the air seemed to change and time escaped too quickly. But it was like she knew that I needed to know she was still there, even if she really wasn't. It was always comforting but later also discomfitting. Was what I felt real? And if so, why did she have to leave? Why couldn't I remember anymore the tone of her voice or the combination of scents that made up her smell? Why couldn't she speak to me and tell me what I needed to hear?

I don't remember when I stopped needing her, but I think it was around the time I got married. I was learning after all that time to stand on my own two feet and I had Jeff to lean on. Then I began having children and they began needing me for their very existence and I don't think I had time anymore to need her in the way I had my whole life. The need became more of a longing for what I'd missed, and sadness that my children would only have photographs and little stories I told them to remind them that I had a mom. I was sad for what I couldn't have yet others could. An acceptance has come that even though physically she was only my mom for 8 short years, she has fulfilled her motherly duty even if it is in spirit.

Did she notice when I became stronger and more capable? I think so. Was she sad that my need lessened or happy that I was becoming more independant? I don't know, but I hope that when my children stop needing me, they'll still want me, just as I still want my mom.


Casey's trio said...


I don't think they will ever stop needing us, I just think that they will need us in different ways. I wonder what those teenage years are going to be like when they THINK they don't need us but we still need them. I already worry about all of my girls leaving the house at the same of them HAS to stay at home forever. My husband laughs at me and tells me that's why we need another baby...
Awhile back you wrote about your legacy and I think that part of that is knowing that you are laying the foundation for these little human beings to be self sufficient and independent when they grow up. Hopefully, rather than feeling sad about them not needing us anymore, we will feel some satisfaction that we did a good job in raising them. At least, that's what I will hope for.

Laura said...

I dread this time too. I know I always need my parents, even now. My immediate needs are no longer dependent on them anymore though. I spend my days taking care of them... someday that won't be the case. Knowing the kind of mother you are, the relationships will change, but the friendships you have built will last forever. Hopefully this relationship will be healing to you as you missed it with your own dear mother.