The last time you put on their seatbelt, draw them a shower, wipe their butt – you know, all those intimate services you do from the minute they’re born.
One day, they just don’t need you anymore, and without realising it, you’ve done that thing for the last time. Ever. That part of your parenting job is done.
Woo hoo – but also, boo hoo, right?
It sounds so sad, but of course, we’re the lucky ones; the parents who get to watch our kids grow up to be functioning adults who don’t need us anymore. There are too many parents who don’t get that privilege.
The thing is, there’s not a parent out there who doesn’t recognise that. So, there’s no need for anyone to tell us to ‘enjoy the kids while they’re young’ – because we’re already doing it.
(Except for when they’re being little b*ggers of course – and that’s okay. No need to shame us for that, either.)
But, since, so far, I do have that privilege, this is also what I’m doing: I’m enjoying my child in the present, and not worrying about what I have ‘lost’ from his younger years.
I’m thinking about how far we’ve come.
Today, at 12-years-and-six-days old, my son took himself off to school on his bike for the first time. I watched him zoom down the hill, and thought, brilliant, he needs to learn independence.
Go, little man. (Although he is now taller than me.)
I stood in front of the house, heart bursting with pride, even tearing up a bit as I watched him literally and metaphorically speed away from me (because yes, I’m a cry baby), I thought:
Good. He’s ready. This is the way things should be.