Truth is, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I was fighting that slothy feeling that comes right about then. So, she was right. And on a deeper level, I’m adjusting to the empty nest and a business that is settling nicely into it’s 9th year. I’m taking some time to reflect and redirect, and while that’s truly a great process and the right one for now, I’m feeling a little restless. I have a feeling she could hear that in my voice.
But here’s the thing. I’m 48. She’s 76. In 99% of my day, I’m the one noticing things like someone is tired. How’s your day? Did you eat breakfast? And – you look tired. It can be a daughter on the phone, my husband, or someone at the office. I do it all day long, like breathing, don’t even think about it. I’m a mom, wife, and boss.
I’ve gotten used to being the asker. The fixer. The one who is concerned about you.
How lovely, then, to be asked, “Are you tired? You sound tired…”
She was somehow tuned in from a thousand miles away, and as she’s headed towards 80 and I’m long past sharing (well, most of) my daily problems with her, it caught me off guard. And then made me realize, you never stop being a mom. She’s still picking up the clues of how everyone is doing and I’m sure doesn’t even think about it.
Last night, we made it to bed early, about 10:30, and were just enjoying the luxury of a little more rest. 11:34, and my phone rang. Daughter #3. I answered, “People are sleeping…” She said, “I know, I’m sorry, and …..” She needed to talk, and my brain somehow kicked in and 15 minutes later she felt better, and I picked my book up and read. At the same time, another daughter called dad. He picks up the phone, “People are sleeping…” and it ended 10 seconds later with, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” And he went back to sleep. Instantly.
There have been times when I really wanted to be a man. Sleep comes easily. Waking up is hard. Little voices in the night are not heard until they become really loud. Teenagers can come and go without waking you.
We were married and had our kids right along with the comedy show, Mad About You. One of our favorite lines was when Jamie became pregnant, and thinking they were a very cosmopolitan couple who would share all the duties of parenting equally,when she suddenly had a realization that she – not Paul – was the Mommy. She must have conjured up thoughts of everything Moms do, and then fear hit her face, and she blurted out, “OH MY GOD! I’M THE MOMMY!!”
It was a great line, and one we have used over and over since then. My husband loves to remind me at just the right time, “Oh my god, you’re the mommy!”
Moms are incredibly flawed. We interfere too much. We have a tendency to hover. Let go at the wrong times. Say ridiculous things (www.postcardsfromyomomma.com) And have a knack for embarrassing our kids that dads seem to miss.
My days of daily care for children are done. Signing homework packets (silly as I thought this was) is in the past. Worrying about the teenager out at night is over.
But asking, “How are you eating?” or “Are you taking something for that?” – or perhaps just a noticing – I’m incredibly happy to be on both sides of mothering.