A Mother’s Need to be Needed

We all know our mothers are awesome. They are special to each of us. My mom is a saint, really. She has always been selfless even as mommy standards go. She loved being needed and still does. She is a special, beautiful person for it. Especially when you consider that she had to put up with my attitude. I probably let go first when I walked into kindergarten and I know I was so excited to go to college I hardly thought twice about what I was leaving behind. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t miss things, I just embraced every adventure. It’s no doubt a good thing she was there to hold me back sometimes, make me slow down, be humble, try to save me from my “too big for my britches” self, etc. The overly-independent stubbornness must have driven her crazy at times. She and I are so different that way.

But that’s the thing about moms. It doesn’t matter what their children are like, they get to be there for them unconditionally. And even learn a little.

And that’s how it feels like with my two very different babies. I set the boy up for a life of carving out his own path. At 10 months when he wanted a bottle at 3am, he got it. In the crib he went, no more rocking to sleep. Dang was I an idiot! Whyyyyy?! From the second his brick-shaped feet hit the ground he was gone, never looking back and NEVER snuggling again.

I wanted him to be that way. I’m not the overly nurturing type I guess. I didn’t see myself consoling him over every booboo. I was counting on him being tough, so we could focus on teaching and molding him. Amazing how important that has been now that we ask him to do so much more for himself, because our hands are full. Because we just had no idea what was coming….Back to the independent thing — I don’t really know what I was thinking. It’s hard to even remember that person now.

Because now, I get it.

My developmentally challenged, chronically-sick daughter needs me. Really needs every ounce of my being, of my mind. I am always on my toes. It’s a life-sucking, mind-draining need. It’s exhausting. It’s also the most amazing, deep connection. When she wants only me to hold her and only my body is the right one to fall asleep on and she gives me this look of thanks for being there — I feel needed. And maybe I needed that.

She came into this world so quietly, but I knew she was a fighter and she may still prove to be another independent one. I hope she tests me, and pushes me away. But it will be so much harder now that I know what that being needed feeling does to me. It melts me from the inside out. Mush.

Oh and then there’s the poor hubster, who may not have realized quite the craziness I brought to the table when he chose me as partner in crime. He said he liked the strong independent me, but now I maybe like being needed. Does that make me less of that person I was? Am I a sap and a mess and just a little less, mmm, me?

Hopefully I am a more well-rounded, better person for it. We can change, and I definitely like the idea of learning from my babies. I have already changed. I can now accept that it’s not only my needs I am doing every single thing for. It’s hard to separate the two now, honestly.

Eh, no energy to worry about the good and bad of it though. This love bug of mine needs me in a way that I plan to savor for as long as it lasts, no matter how painful or challenging.

And for all parents out there, when your child needs you, it’s a good moment to remember how special that bond is, because some day it will change.