A number of years ago, when the girls were small and bedtime was 8pm (for me and them), a friend of mine said something to me and I didn’t believe her. As I was holding my tired, tear-stained four year old on my hip, she said that when your kids get older, it’s just as intense as when they are small. She said that instead of clinging to your pant legs, they need you in a completely different way, but just as much. She said that her teenagers were just as time consuming and just as needing of her nurturing as when they were small.
I thought she had motherhood amnesia. You know, the syndrome that has a mother, who recently experienced labor, to be so awash in baby love that she wants another child. She forgets that this will require another labor.
Now that I have teenagers, I still think my friend forgot how intense mothering small children can be. So when I’m trying to figure out how and when all of us can have dinner together because one has play practice from 6 to 8pm and the other has a class that begins at 7pm and it turns out the only time we can all sit at the table together is at 5pm, I remember when they were small.
When at the end of the day, everyone was a little (or a lot) frayed at the edges and no one could really handle entertaining themselves. When having little people “help” with dinner meant starting at 4pm for a dinner at 6pm. When holding one in the sling and the other on the hip meant that I couldn’t chop a vegetable or make a salad. But if I set them down, the terror of the toddler would reign down on the household. Back then I wished I were an octopus.
Now I wish I could clone myself. I’d have one mom drive and the other make dinner. Since neither of those is likely, I’ll just stick with having a lot more free time in the day, serving dinner at the oddest of hours so that we can all sit face to face, and driving my teenagers to and fro with “car talk” to sustain me.
Dinner time – it’s important