May 2, 2014

Raising Children

Raising children is hard.  I am not close to done.  Do you ever reach a place that is done?  I had a thought that reaching 18 means we've raised our child.  In my life, getting through high school as a homeschooler would feel like a huge accomplishment.  But do you ever reach a benchmark that means you are done rearing your child?  I still call my mom for advice or a shoulder on which to cry.  Which is not a literal shoulder since she's several hundred miles away.  My phone gets the tears and she just has to listen and feel rather helpless.  Nevertheless, I'm in my thirties and my Mom still has to be, Mom.

I have a vivid image of sitting in my sixth grade class.  The room buzzed with excitement because today was a field trip.  The actual trip is of no importance in this memory.  My Mom was on her way.  I can still picture her now, nearly thirty years later.  A thin sweater and slacks, probably tired because she rode her bike to work that day.  Lovely, and younger than I am now, she breezed into my class.  I was so thrilled, proud even, to see my Mom at school that I breathed, "Mommy!"

Many things are off limits in a busy sixth grade classroom.  Calling out "Mommy" causes the awkward silence that every kid dreads.  Just a few seconds, but it was there.  Pungent and embarrassing.

My stomach still aches with the memory, the comfort of seeing my mother that day.  Sometimes now I yearn for that familiar, warm feeling.

I tell Seth that I feel like we are playing house.  It doesn't feel like we are mature enough to have our own family.  During college, I kept thinking once married, we would have arrived in adulthood.  Then it seemed that the birth of our first child would deliver us into the secret world.  Five children and fifteen years of marriage later, I still feel like that sixth grader.

I have wondered if our children have the same feelings about us.  Then, I recognize it when something sad happens.  At three in the morning, when Josiah crawls into bed with us, he curls his big boy body up like he's still a toddler and shares my pillow.  I know he feels that familiar comfort.  It scares me a little, because, aren't I still just a kid myself?