That's What Mamas Do

For the second day in a row, I've been asked to "walk me all the way in, please", hand in hand with my sweet young man, far passed the front doors, until he is comfortable.  And he knows I won't let go until he is ready, sometimes far before I am. He giggled and flashed me that kooky, beautiful smile when I answered back with "I'll walk with you everyday, even when you are in high school, if that's what you want and need." He thinks I'm being silly, but deep down I'm serious and he knows it.

There are things he can do himself and he has proven this year that he is more than capable of pitching in and helping around the house and with his sisters. Even though he has picked his outfits every day this summer, he has let me do it each of the last two days for school. But I also know there will be a time approaching soon, far before it should, that Daddy and I will only be needed to whip out the debit card and pay for the clothing he has chosen and to make sure it gets washed once in awhile. I will take every last chance I get to choose at the store and pick from the closet.  And if he lets me, I will still help him bathe and get dressed. Not because he can't do it himself, but because that's what mamas do.

We teach them how to comb hair, brush teeth, wash your ears, pick an outfit, dress yourself, use the potty, and eat like a mannered human.  I could just pay and make him eat hot lunch, but making his lunch each night (even if it is just a lunch meat roll up and fruit snacks) and adding that love note is one more second I get to show him, even when I'm not right beside him, that I'm always thinking of him. But most importantly because everything Mama does is a sign of how much she loves you.

I can't count how many times this summer I have uttered the phrase "because this is what mamas do" when trying to help a fiercely independent toddler who dives in to every task and wants to "do it myself".  While I love that she CAN and does enjoy helping with dishes and laundry, she needs to know deep in her bones what love looks like and what forms it comes in. She needs to be shown what normal looks like in our house.  We now have a routine and after Mama (or Daddy) brushes the teeth, you can too.  Mama combs the hair and takes the elastics in and out, but you can pick the number of ponytails and the bows.

I hope they all know that Mama does these things not because she wants to be in control but because she wants us all to slow down and to see that every little thing we do can, and should, be done with love.  Because before we are ready, you will no longer need Mama to help you or do it for you.  And while she sits and beams with pride while watching you, silent tears may slip out.  Because that's what mamas do.


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