Full disclaimer: I’m one of the least qualified people to talk about parenting.
That’s not entirely true, because I have had a significant role in my two youngest sisters’ lives including being there by my mom’s side for almost every minute of her pregnancies, being there when they were minutes old to hold them and welcome them to the world, being there to bring them home from the hospital, being there to change diapers, and find lost “nu-nus” and kiss invisible scrapes, and be bit when they discovered they had teeth, and get up during the night to find missing nu-nus, and change diapers, and give a bottle, and roll them back over because they got stuck in the corner and can’t figure out what the heck is going on.
And I was there to catch their wobbly heads when they learned to sit up, and scoop them up when they face planted while learning to crawl, and follow them around for hours while they held onto my fingers so they had enough confidence to walk.
I was there when they tasted carrots for the first time and spit them all over, and when their noses turned orange because carrots were the only thing they wanted to eat. I was there to catch the millions of crackers and biscuits and Gerber meat sticks thrown to the dogs.
I was there to give doses of Benadryl and apply lotion to hives when we discovered one was allergic to apple juice. I consoled her when her class was given juice boxes and she was the only kid who couldn’t have one because every juice box contains freakin apple juice.
I was there to scoop the other out of her high chair and whisk my pinkie into her mouth to retrieve the biter biscuit from her throat that she was choking on. I cried as hard as she did.
I was there to hold them when they were too young to understand what was happening when they were sick and threw up.
I was there to make hundreds upon hundreds of glasses of chocolate or pink (strawberry) milk. I was there to figure out that “chocoberry” milk meant chocolate and strawberry Nestle powder mixed in the same glass!
I was there when they learned to talk, and developed favorite movies (which just happened to be my two least favorite Disney movies, Pocahontas and Lion King respectively), and picked out their own clothes, and moved to big girl beds, and learned to brush their teeth, and learned to talk, and learned to read. I took them to their first movie in a movie theater and read them stories and whispered back that “the beast” wouldn’t come get them and I would keep them safe. I inspected stains and bandaged injuries, I took them to the doctor for ear infections, and to Starbucks for drinks for learning to go on the potty. I taught them to swim and stressed the importance of never letting anyone convince them to go in the deep end of the pool if they were tired.
But now they are growing up. And the first is having boy drama. And it’s almost been too much for me.
Please, come sit on my lap baby girl. Throw up all over my lap and I will hold you while you cry and then I will give you a bath and put you in clean pajamas and rewind your movie and let you take a sip of water even though I know in 30 minutes it will be coming back up. Please let me go back to that. I thought those were hard days.
Please let me go back to the days when I can protect you. Please let me go back to the days when you will try desperately to cross your legs but they are much too fat to cross, and your arms don’t quite cross, and you are left to pooch out your chubby little lips when you dislike what I have told you to do.
My parents are gone, and I am my baby sisters’ adult. And that is some scary shit man. The first wanted to ride with someone I don’t know if her ride fell through. I told her if her ride couldn’t take her I would. She asked what I would do for the 3 hours she was busy and then if she could still go to dinner with friends. And I told her yes, that worst case I would just sit in the car and read while I waited for her.
I hate suburbia. But I’d rather drive 30 minutes and then sit in the car for 3 hours and read a book and then drive her to a restaurant and sit at the bar with my book alone, and then drive 30 minutes home than entrust her to a stranger (who isn’t really truly a stranger).
And having to follow through on consequences that I know are best for her and she even knows are best for her and she’s okay with still kills me.
And knowing that she knows that this boy is no good doesn’t make it any easier that I know she cried herself to sleep last night over him.
Parenting is hard. It’s too hard and I can’t do it. I practically shattered her dreams of young love and she thanked me. She thanked me for telling her the truth and being in her life to guide her.
That’s too much for me.