Sometimes I need you to be big. When we’re teaching you new things, I want you to understand. When I’m running late, I want you to be able to button your pants without my help. When plans change, I want you to be flexible. When we are at the doctor, I’m excited to see your numbers climb. When the anniversary of your arrival in our home or your birthday roll around, I marvel in the growth that only long spans of time reflect back to you.
But sometimes, I need you to be little. When I’m afraid that I haven’t taken in enough of the quirky little things you do. When I can’t remember the last time I carried you upstairs to bed. When you take my hand and lead me on a journey through your imagination. When I want to savor the goodnight kisses, the tight hugs, the unwavering faith that we know the answers for everything, the “I love you most first forever, Mommy” that you shout through your door at night.
The push and pull of big and little. I think you feel it too. Sometimes, you want to be big. You want to choose your own food, go to the bathroom by yourself, open your own drink, dress yourself, carry your own things. But sometimes, you want to be little. You want my help to fix your pants, kiss your boo-boo, cover you up with blankets at night, and pick you up when your legs are tired.
I try my hardest to be what you need, when you need it. Sometimes our needs are in sync, and sometimes we mismatch. But I am trying – to allow you to become big and make your choices – but also to be your safe place to fall – a place to still be little.
Sometimes I need you to be big. To understand the consequences of your choices. To be considerate of others, and thoughtful around the house. To look ahead and think about your future and make decisions that make your future bright. Sometimes I need you to take initiative and be responsible for your own things, your own grades, your room, and your words. I need you to help me, your sister and yourself, and do things without being asked to do so.
Sometimes I need you to be little. I need you to play games with me, make silly faces with me, and stay still in this time that you are. When I feel that the hourglass is emptying too quickly, and there isn’t enough time to teach you everything you need to know to be successful. When it hits me that your first year of high school is almost over.
The push and pull of big and little. I think you feel it too. You can’t wait to be driving, to be in college, to have a job and make your own money. To make your own decisions and to be in charge of yourself. But sometimes, you put your head on my lap and ask me to tell you what to do – what decision to make. You ask for advice with friends, and when you are hurt you cling to me as I imagine you did when you were very little. You seek comfort, and support, and a soft place to land.
I try to be what you need when you need it – and sometimes we are in sync and sometimes we clash. But I’m trying. To give you the roots that allow you to fly, to push you when I know you need to go forward- but to also be the safe place to come home to, when you don’t know what to do and the world is too scary and when you need to know how to cook that piece of chicken you just bought.
I want you both to know I am doing my best, and mostly I want you to remember –
I love you both most first forever more.