Yesterday my 6 & 5 year old played Monopoly Junior by themselves. I sat next to them and read a book while they played. Stopping a couple times to remind 5 that 6 was correct about the rules but otherwise they handled it themselves. 6 read the Chance cards, perfectly. They both counted their money flawlessly.
Jennifer, a local mom, yoga teacher, & fitness guru over at BitchinHousewife, told a few of us one night that her girl had just read a whole book, without needing her help. It made her sad, and she talked about how she felt like her little girl didn't "need" her anymore. This morning I looked at the picture I took of them playing that game again and her words came rushing to me. This was my realization. This is the beginning of them not needing me. Before I know it, they'll be in their rooms doing homework and I won't see them until supper time. They will come and go, letting me know where of course, but without needing me to take them. They'll be going to sleep overs, out with friends, playing games together and with friends but they won't need me.
Will they ask me to play? Will they ask me for help with their homework? A question about what their reading or tell me stories about their day so I know a little bit of what's going on? There's a point where I'm going to need them more than they need me anymore and the thought scares the pants off me. I'm going to need to know what they're doing, how they're feeling, what's going on in their lives and I can only hope they'll let me in.
Right now they're playing together, nicely, with their toys and it's allowing me the time to put my thoughts down. I'm always grateful for this time when they don't need something from me and the times are happening more and more but I hadn't thought about the other side of this. It's like this little war inside myself - yes, you're doing a good job, they don't need you ALL the time, but Noooooooo, I'm going to miss them needing me. I keep thinking kids always need their parents, in one way or another but I'm glad this stuff doesn't happen over night. We get eased into it more, or less, and I know there will be times in the future they won't want to need me, but I hope that never stops them from knowing I'm always, always here.