• Sabrina Irvine

The day she learned to pump

Recently my four year old daughter Lennox conquered the playground swings. After years of stubborn refusal to pump her legs, she finally decided she was done waiting for Mom to push her and she took the brave plunge to pump her little legs. After about a minute, I looked over and in typical mom fashion got my phone out to capture the milestone on video. I wasn't recording the moment to blast it out on my instagram stories, this recording was very personal...so much more than simply a 24 hour instagram story.

Pumping on the swings has been a symbolic milestone with each of my kids. What may seem like a simple park activity, has always signalled a rapidly evolving chain of events as my kids quickly discovered independence. As I recorded my video clip, I could see undeniable pride beaming across my daughter's face. In fact, she nearly fell off the swings as she was expressing her excitement about her new found skill.

Immediately I jumped for joy with my daughter, I too knew just how much this new skill meant to my four year old. After capturing the moment on video, I put my phone away and took a seat on the bench behind the swings. An overwhelming feeling began to flood my body and this time it wasn't joy or pride. I instantly felt sad, I felt the weight of how fragile and precious time really is. In this moment, my thoughts went directly to my older two kids Jaxon and Scarlett. I thought back to how many different things they no longer need me for. I frequently complained about the amount of time and hassle it took to get their coats on because they were just too stubborn to operate a zipper. Fast-forward...they don't need me to buckle their coats anymore. It wasn't just the coats, anyone who has done a winter with toddlers or preschool aged children knows how much effort is required to get them outside to play. You spend ten minutes getting them all bundled up to play in the snow and then you're lucky if they stay outside for fifteen minutes. It seems without fail, regardless of how many times you ask them to go pee before they get their ski pants on...they will undoubtedly have to pee or better yet pee in their ski pants outside. The Robert Munch book I HAVE TO GO PEE, is far too often an annoying reality for parents. It wasn't long ago, I was drove completely crazy getting my oldest two dressed in their winter gear. Today...my oldest two kids can get themselves ready for winter weather totally unassisted. They don't need mom to help shove their feet into those stubborn winter boots, or help manouver their fingers into the finger slots on their gloves. They just don't need me for that....

I remember warm summer nights holding the back of their bikes when they were learning to ride. Once again the stubborn nature of my children was always fierce. When they lost their balance or couldn't get the pedals to move just right, they would throw the bike down on the sidewalk, cross their arms and stomp off in a huff. Numerous times they would declare to the neighborhood that they were never going to learn to ride the bike and time after time we would reassure them that it was okay to take a break. My daughter Scarlett would constantly say "Hold on Mom... promise you won't let go of my bike." It wasn't long until she started saying "Let go mom I've got it...I can do it by myself." As I write this blog, my oldest two kids are out biking on their own to meet friends at the park. They just don't need me for that...

Whether you have a love or hate relationship with your kids and bath time, there is no denying it takes time. You have had a busy day, cooked supper, cleaned up from supper and all you want to do is crash on the couch. Suddenly you realize your kids are starting to smell a bit like rotten cheese, so you drag yourself and your kids through the bathtub routine. If you can avoid the whole shampoo in the eyes portion of bath time you're likely in decent shape. I remember numerous times thinking the floor must had more water on it than was left in the tub. At times it seemed that the tub had so many toys...there was barely enough room for my kid in there. My kids loved bath time, and for the most part I did not. I was the mom who would drag her butt into the bathroom ONLY because the kids were starting to stink. Fast forward to today, my oldest two are totally independent in the tub (my son will only take showers and my daughter prefers to do everything herself). What happened? Wasn't I JUST teaching them to say ducky with the rubber ducky toys? They don't need me for that...

In the tired moments, we don't think too much about the significance of our kids dressing themselves, learning to ride a bike or taking a shower on their own. One day you're needed for absolutely everything and then suddenly your once totally dependent kids are moving towards total independence. One day you will look over and see your child pumping on the swings and a flood of emotions will hit you like a ton of bricks. Maybe your symbolic moment isn't pumping on the swings, maybe its watching them get a glass of water on their own or getting themselves ready for school unassisted. I can guarantee at some point you will face a similar motherhood moment head on. It may not be a loud and obvious moment, it may come quietly and suddally...but when it does you too will realize how quickly time passes.

When I had my first baby in 2012, I remember being innidated by older more experienced mama's who would all say something similar, "The days are long but the years are short." It was in that moment on the park bench that this cliche phrase which used to totally annoy me began to hit home. I sat on that bench in my moment of heavy emotions thinking about my relationship with my own mom. I reach out to my mom multiple times a week, sometimes I need parenting advice and other times I just need to check in. As I tried to pull my emotional hot mess self back together in that park, something struck me...yes time is incredibly valuable but my kids will always need me. Will my kids be fourteen and still need me to wipe their butts? Lord I surely hope not. Will my kids need me to cut their meat when they are twenty-five? We can hope they learn those life skills by then. Today I find peace in knowing that my kids needs will change as they grow up, but that in one way or another they will always need their mom.

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