We’re at a new crossroads on our parenting journey with her: how much do we intervene? When do we step back, even if we know there will be a fall?
When your children are born you do everything for them. As they transition into childhood you do less physically and more mentally. As Girl has reached the the ripe old age of ten, I’ve come to a realization:
I’m tired. Somewhere along the line of my motherhood path, I morphed into She Who Must Remember Everything, Everywhere, Every Time. It’s not possible, nor should it be.
We have an extra complication: teaching her that she has to work with the world and not use her hearing deficit as an excuse to make or force the world to work with her; that she has to be strong and use her voice and speak up for herself. I’m frequently “on point,” cutting down the jungle in front of her and making a path, trying to show her how to do it along the way. I’ve never known what I’m doing, either. It’s a role I took on because I’m her mother, and one that I’ve grown completely accustomed to, much like an old coat that you wear every day. I’ve felt lately that my load is too heavy – that my mother-trailblazer-pack mule role for many things is one I need to start to relinquish. It’s time.
We’ve spent ten years learning as we go, and then trying to teach her. Sometimes she’s not ready for the task, so we help. Sometimes she’s not a willing student, so we step in. It has to get done. Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?
The question is: by whom?
And so it starts. She makes her own breakfast. Burns her own toast. Forgets her homework and has to face the teacher and explain. Dawdles when it’s time to leave so she’s late. Makes excuses why she messed up and we don’t fall for it. Tries and fails. She attempts to draw me into her fear and frustration at not knowing the answer immediately and has meltdowns to try to make my proverbial helicopter leave the airport. It takes all of my strength to stand by band watch my baby struggle, but it stays grounded.
“Why won’t you HELP me?” She asks. “No one will come to rescue you, except you,” we tell her.
And yet, at the same time, she’s pushing me away. “I KNOW!” She says. I never know which one I’m going to get, when. I have to guess which hat I have to wear for any given situation: mother, trusted adviser, friend, oppressor.
My baby became a child. My child is turning her face down the road to becoming an adult. No matter how much it hurts or how painful some of it will be to watch, I have to let her, because I know that I’m not simply parenting a child, I’m actually raising an adult. So everyday I both swell with pride and shrink with worry.
We’re riding on the same roller coaster.