Monday, August 25, 2008

Bye Bye Baby

I just dropped my baby at High School Swim Team Practice. I am awed and inspired by her ability to walk into a strange High School and join a team where she knows nobody or anything about being on a High School team. I am so proud that we have raised a lovely young lady with the self-confidence to do this. She doesn't read the blog routinely, so I can brag without fear of humiliating her, or I would simply say that Allison went to High School today. But for me, this is a huge milestone for both her and I. And I handled it beautifully. I was sobbing in the car on the way home. Snotty drippy nose sobbing. After I dropped her at the school pool, which gives the Cube in Beijing a run for it's money in the way of facility design (Go Johnstown!), I walked back out to the car and just broke down. I remember the day Allison came home from the hospital and although I know it wasn't yesterday, it feels that way in my heart. She is still the baby that needs me. That will never go away, for any of them. Jackie and Walter, and Nicole and Brian are all young adults. They are away from home and don't see us on a regular basis, and yet we see them everyday in our mind. They are still babies and always will be - they still need us, even if they don't think so. That is what keeps us going. We all just want to be needed by our kids. Forever. It doesn't change as they add spouses or significant others, or better yet, Grandchildren. Even if they become more successful than we ever hoped to be. The fact that they need us is what drives us. And when something happens where it appears that the need requirements are dropping - appropriately so - it devastates us. What do we do now? I'm hoping when I pick her up at 10:00 AM she will want an ice cream or something that I can provide without hesitation. Then I can still feel important in the life of my baby. Sometimes they want things that we can't provide, and only when they become parents will they understand the heartbreak that that can cause. It is not always easy to do the right thing, or the difficult thing. That's what kids don't understand about parents. The old saying "this hurts me more than it hurts you" used to refer to the old trip to the woodshed. But really, it refers to anytime a decision is made that makes our kids unhappy. Even if it is the right decision, we never want to make them unhappy. Ever. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not make my day to humiliate, discipline or deny any of them. It doesn't make me happy. It breaks our hearts, over and over. And yet, I wouldn't change a minute of any day in any year. I love you kids unconditionally, and always. All of you. And that is how you can tell a Mother's heart. By the mended breaks and bursting love. Bye Bye Baby, Good Luck, God Bless.

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