Oh, To Be Needed

Today is Christian’s 15th birthday. Wow.

Yesterday, I was remembering what it was like to have smaller children — all the chasing after and the running around, the T-ball practice and piano lessons, the morning rush and the bedtime stall. I thought about the worn-out, plopping-on-the-couch-at-the-end-of-the-day kind of days. I was kind of missing them, to tell the truth. The pace of the days has slowed a bit now that the boys are older. They don’t need their mom the way they used to, a fact of life that’s been staring me in the face for a couple years now, since my oldest son, Ryan, went off to college.

Standard Color Set Sharpie 8-pk

Who knew Sharpies could make a mom feel needed?

But, at 9:00 last night, I had to run to Target to replace a Sharpie that ran out of ink so Christian could finish the art project that is due today. I bought the wrong kind, of course, and made another trip to get the right kind. Christian rewarded me with a hug, a kiss and a sincere thank you. I had saved the day! Then he asked if I could wake him early so he could study for an English test. I rolled my eyes, but consoled myself with the fact that I now have a 10-year supply of Sharpies in the kitchen drawer.

As Christian worked meticulously on the optical illusion art project from hell that was going to keep him up all night, I settled on the couch to make a to-do list for today: email the English teacher, order balloons, order Carolina’s party platters, wrap birthday presents, and clean the house for the party (and also because the appraiser is coming on Tuesday). I wondered if I could I fit some writing in there somewhere.

About that time, my cell phone chimed, and Ryan, the self-reliant college kid, poked his head in the living room via text message and asked if I would call him at 6 a.m. (por favor, mama?). He was swamped with homework and would be up late. He needed to write an essay that was due in the morning and didn’t trust himself to wake up on time. I rolled my eyes, grabbed a Sharpie, and wrote myself a sticky note. At least someone would get some writing done.

Now, it is morning. Christian and I are facing the day on three hours of sleep. It took an hour of intermittent phone calls to get Ryan out of bed (as it has for years). I am writing this post instead of eating breakfast because it is the only writing I will do today. I will get all my birthday errands done, make phone calls to guidance counselors and teachers, and check in on college-boy later today. Maybe I will get to the cleaning. Tonight, we will take Christian out for a birthday dinner, put up some decorations for his party tomorrow, and then I will plop down on the couch, completely worn out. Did I say I missed these days? I may have spoken too soon.

I say this, now, with truly mixed feelings: My kids are 15 and 20, and they still need their mom.

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About Jeannette Monahan

A writer sidetracked by life, with a husband and two boys who shine brighter than Arizona sunshine. Visit me at my blogs: jeannettemonahan.wordpress.com or jmmonahan.wordpress.com. You are always welcome.
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