I used to make breakfasts for kids in footie pajamas swinging their legs at my kitchen counter. I’d cut up grapes on little plates and fill sippy cups with juice while fielding complaints because every single kid wanted the blue one.
Now I make four frozen pizzas at once trying to keep up with how much these tall kids are eating, and still field complaints, but now about how someone ate the last of the Doritos or ice cream bars. Or I’m serving the meals to-go style as they walk out, thanking me as the front door shuts behind them.
I used to spend my days helping kids learn to walk or use baby signs or put on shoes or pick up toys or just use their nice words and for the love stop biting each other.
Now I help them fill out job applications, answering questions about resumes and what hours they can work and how to fill out a W-2. I help them navigate friendships and relationships and learn to drive a car (OK, I pray as they learn to drive a car … almost as good).
I used to stay up at night worrying about what they ate that day and would the boy ever eat a food that wasn’t a white carb-based sugary something and would the girl ever sleep through the night. I fretted about how they were growing and how long it took them to talk and walk and finally achieve the holy grail of staying dry all night.
Now I stay awake hoping they are driving safely and that every other human on the road is too. I worry about choices they make about who they are with and what they are putting or not putting in their bodies and oh my word how will I make it when the woman child doesn’t have to check in every day?
I used to be the one they went to for all the things. The one stop shop for food and comfort and love. I controlled so many of the moments of our day and they followed me … my little sweet troop of human ducklings.
Now I watch them spread their wings and soar away and love on their friends and find support in so many places.
But even though I’m not always leading the way, I’m still that one stop shop. They still come to me for food (so much food) and comfort and love.
You see, the thing that will never change is how much they need us. How they need us is different, but need us they still do.
When I find my days filled with answering so many questions — not about why the sky is blue but definitely about why the world can be so tough — I’m grateful. I’m so very grateful I get to mother these humans in all the ways.
Each year is sweet in its own way … from kissing that newborn baby head as she’s placed in my arms to kissing the head of my grown girl as I walk by knowing in just a few weeks she’ll be walking out the door.
We love. We teach. We serve. We worry. We love some more.
The more it changes, the more it stays the same. Our babies will always need us just as we will always need them. It’s hard to let go but all the sweeter when they choose to come home to us. It’s all a blessing, friends … every bit of it.
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