I'm not going to lie to you, I totally don't miss things like wiping stinky, poopy butts, zipping and unzipping of pants or shoe tying. Sure, those are the delights of having a child but when you have three (or more) children, those little delights act as little speed bumps set right in your way so that you trip over them and land smack on your face almost every single second of the day.
Add them to the countless other things that must get done during the day and those seemingly little tasks start giving you occasion to sigh and roll your eyes into the back of your head where you see a little man screaming and pulling out his hair saying, "for goodness sake, why didn't you just buy the freaking velcro sneakers!!
When my kids got old enough to buckle themselves into the car or dress themselves in a mostly acceptable way (turtle neck sweaters paired with courdoroy pants in July should be re-considered and yes you need to wear pants when you go out in public), I breathed a sigh of relief.
And suddenly those tiny little speed bumps started to be spaced further and further apart until one morning after waking up late (and by late I mean a quarter to seven), I walked downstairs to find my oldest daughter standing at the stove slinging eggs which when finished, she plated with a side of cinnamon toast and a smiley face made out of ketchup. The youngest two sat quietly at the kitchen table, swinging their dangling feet and waiting patiently for their breakfast.
People, the girl had already made my coffee, complete with creamer, and I was just about to sing "good golly hallelujia" when I suddenly started to feel obsolete and unnecessary. It took a minute of me staring into space while sitting and blowing on my hot, freshly made coffee to talk myself down from that ledge.
"They still need you. They still need you. Who is going to wash their clothes? Without you they'd be crusty and stinky in less than 36 hours. You're still needed."
Of course, they need me for more than just laundry. I still get to kiss boo boos and scare away monsters that cause middle of the night nightmares. I'm still very much a necessary and relevant part of their lives. Nothing can make belly aches go away quicker than a warm hug from Mom!
I always will be necessary to them but things are definitely changing. That neat arrangement we once had where I did everything and made decisions without question is now under revision.
I now have to accommodate a variety of personal preferences (some prefer to take showers- not baths) and political beliefs (my youngest is vehemently opposed to any child labor that involves washing the dog.) I have to handle their growing independence and by extension, my growing fears towards said independence.
I have to keep reminding myself that if my mom were alive today, I would still need her, now more than ever and my kids will always need me too. Our relationship will undoubtedly evolve over time and while that will take some painful adjusting, it will prove to be rewarding to watch them grow up into capable, independent individuals.
For now, though; I'm going to savor every orange they can't peel, every wrapper they can't open and every problem that requires a desperate cry for "Mom!"