Anyone who’s ever been to my house knows my young daughters are stage 400 clingers. They are mama’s girls. And physical space…well, I need some of it. Like one inch at least.
So when we were at the beach on vacation a few weeks ago and they were…OVER THERE…I sat wondering what to do with my hands. And my brain. And my chance to get a tan line that doesn’t involve an awkward formation from a child on my thighs. I felt this quick twinge of guilt because I should be sad that they’re growing up and onto new, bigger kid phases but I was not sad. Not in the least.
They were over there digging, building, throwing and riding waves. I was over here, shouting “GO NOW!” when the wave was about to break. I got to watch their joy and experience it like I never have before. Of course, there was plenty of snack-fetching and seashell hunting on the mommy-do list (not to mention an infant still to care for) but it was more fun because I also got to…dare I say it..relax.
You see, the repercussions of having a child on you at all times can be monumental. If you know me, you also know that I am a do-er. Sitting still is not a strength. And when there are kids on your lap, it makes doing things harder.
I am also an empath—I take on the emotions of those around me in a deep, I-can-actually-feel-it kind of way. That gift/curse is not limited to the emotions of adults. Have you ever spent one hour with a toddler? The rollercoaster of emotions that they experience in impressively small amounts of time is emotionally and physically draining for me.
But…when they are over there, I don’t feel it as much. I don’t ride the wave of every sentence. Fetching snacks is no longer like a chore, because I have freedom to move my hands and my legs at will without moving, lifting or warding off a 30+ lb being.
Have I ever sat and cried with my baby in my arms knowing one day they won’t need me to hold them? Of course. Have I gotten a lump in my throat just thinking about how big they’re getting? Absolutely. But am I also thrilled that the end of that phase is getting near? Hell yes.
I am excited for the phase where my toddlers move onto kid-hood and claim their independence. I am excited to watch them grow and thrive. I am excited to resume doing things (I mean really, really, really basic things like grabbing the remote) without the weight of a human on me. I am thrilled to be over here, watching them over there. I am thankful for the stage of snuggles, and grateful for this newfound independence.