At lunch today, a friend and I were talking about this and that, about my abysmal math abilities and how we divvy up household chores with our husbands, when the topic of bedtimes came up. Her kids are older – 9 and 11 – and her husband is in charge of making sure they get to bed without any technology and before 10:30 pm.
“I don’t know how I am going to deal with later bedtimes”, I said, “because I really look forward to a little quiet before the end of the night.”
And I do. The kids go to bed, we pick up the rest of the mess, and settle in to read or watch tv or do some work. I feel like I am “off the clock”, without anyone clamoring for snacks or attention.
But then she went on to say that since they are older, they spend their time mostly in their rooms, working on homework or reading, and many times they want to be alone, not hang out with their parents.
We laughed about how kids change and moved on to another topic, but it stuck in my head all day. I know intellectually that as the kids get older, our relationship is going to change, but when I start to think about it practically, I get a little sick to my stomach. Will they really want to hide away? Will they start thinking of me as their “out of touch mother who doesn’t understand”?
I am not ready for that. I don’t know if I will ever be ready for that. How can you?
So instead of rushing the kids to bed tonight so I could collapse on the couch, I listened to Madi’s plans for her compound machine made out of foam and Popsicle sticks. I let Parker and Fiona jump on Ben, tickling and giggling, for a few extra minutes before calling it a night. I read Curious George Makes Pancakes to Fiona even though it was late, and snuggled up with her and her four blankies until she fell asleep.
This time is so short – where they want my help and they let me give them piles of kisses (as long as I’m not wearing lip gloss).
I need to remember that. Every day and twice on Thursdays.