In the hour between the kids waking up, and sending them off to school this morning, I heard the following:
“I need you to sign my field trip permission slip.”
“I need you to cut my pancakes.”
“I need you to make my cup of milk.”
“I need you to wipe my tushy.”
“I need you to tie my shoes.”
“I need you to help me with my homework.”
“I need you to help me get dressed.”
“I need you to grab eggs at the store.”
And on, and on, and on.
One time my spouse and I played a game to see how many times the 3 children would say “mommy” in a 30 minute time span. We lost count shortly before losing our minds.
If there is one common denominator to the experience of motherhood, it is being NEEDED.
Of course it was far worse when I had 2 babies and a toddler in the house, but even now with my semi-big kid crew, there are never very many minutes that pass without someone needing something from me. And being needed that much is really freaking exhausting.
This past weekend I had one of those days where the needing was incessant. I felt like I spent every waking moment fulfilling need after need (all, but my own, of course). It wasn’t a terrible day, just a typical one, but by bed time, I was d-o-n-e. Unfortunately, my little wildcard, was not.
Nope, instead of drifting off to sleep peacefully, allowing me to finally browse Pinterest for hours, my 4 year old decides to have a total meltdown about the “scary” book we had read (totally benign for the record). I’m talking terrified, mass hysteria about nothing.
At first, I stuck to my guns. “You are in your safe bed, in your safe room, in your safe house and Mommy is right downstairs. Good night.”
But after sitting on the couch, listening to her wailing, “Mooooommmyyyy!!!! I’m scared!!!!! I neeeeeeeeeeed you!!!”, it was clear that the tough love angle wasn’t going to cut it.
I was so frustrated as I marched back up the stairs. I was tired, drained, and resentful of the fact that I couldn’t get the 10 minutes of peace I had been waiting for all day. But, when I opened the door and saw her tear-streaked face, my heart softened. Then, when she jumped into my arms, immediately relaxed, and the screams ended, my heart nearly broke in two. We laid together in her bed and it wasn’t long at all before her little body melted into mine. Moments like that, when my presence and love seem to have superhero-like power, still humble me. Between heavy shudders of breath, just before she allowed herself to sleep, she said, “Thank you for comin’.”
Sometimes it feels so darn good to be needed.