Tiny Feet. I’ve been viewing my friends new baby pictures a lot lately.
Tiny feet remind me that I’ve been a mother longer than I have been anything else. I’m counting, of course, the self-proclaimed motherhood I declared over my sister when I was a toddler, and the thrust-upon motherhood of my other sister & brother when I was barely an adult myself. Then I made my own kids. I’m pretty sure I’m still not an adult. I’m pretty sure I have plenty of days in which I refuse to adult and my teenagers adult better than I do.
I have changed diapers, wiped snotty noses, caught vomit in my bare hands, and done more laundry than the laundry place down the street. OK, that last one might be a lie. But just barely.
I have spent a lifetime caring for other people. It might be what I do best.
I am stuck in between places. Between wanting my kids to stay kids for so much longer, and longing for my kids to be adults so I can go be selfish and do what I want.
I joke that my “2023 North American Tour” is only a scant eight years away, but they say behind every joke is a kernel of truth.
I am counting down years until the baby (baby? She’s almost eleven! She’s over halfway there!) graduates. I am trying to convince time to bend backwards so we can have breastmilk induced comas and bottle-fed dreams in a cuddle pile in the bed. I am halfway to not being needed and halfway from being needed for everything. The most my kids ask me for these days is permission (or forgiveness).
Don’t get me wrong. That is an amazing accomplishment. I long for independent children. I am so proud of everything they can do on their own, from doing their laundry to making their food. My babies will not be inept adults. They will be better than me, because I learned what didn’t work, and what did work, and why sometimes you need to ignore them in order to make them independent. They might be need to shoved in order to thrive. All I ever wanted to do was go. I spent years trying to get out. Some days I am still trying to just go (hence my 2023 NAT!).
I am terrified that once they are all grown and off to college that I will find out the only thing I know how to do is be a mom, because that’s all I have ever done. I am banking on my travels to remind me that I am more than “just another mother”.
Most of my kids’ tiny feet have grown into adult-sized shoes. I only have one set of feet left in the house that are smaller than my own. Somehow, that just baffles my mind when I think too hard about it. How did tiny feet, no longer than my thumbs, grow so quickly into feet longer than my forearms?
I dream of my kids, all my kids, being grown up and successful and independent and strong. What parent doesn’t?
So I spend half my day daydreaming about it being just me and The Husband and all of America being our backyard (when I dream, I dream big) and half my day daydreaming about my kids being babies, because their potential futures seem so much more unlimited than my own.