As children get older it seems they should be easier. I'm here to tell you, or confirm to you if you have children of your own, they are much harder the older they get.
My youngest needed to get her wisdom teeth out to prepare her mouth for braces. Helping a teenager recover from wisdom tooth extraction seems like an easy task. But sometimes when kids are in a state of pain, even when they are teens, they need more attention than ever from a parent; they need assurance that everything will be fine. It's not a problem and I don't mind; I still sometimes need my mother to help me manage situations. We will be mothers forever.
But “being there” takes a lot of time. When the surgery was over, I took my daughter home and installed her on the family room couch. Then I had to run out and get her pain meds and soft foods she could eat for the week like ice cream, pudding, mac and cheese, spaghetti (I made that myself).
After I got her settled with a bit of food, she wanted me to watch BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series with her. It’s a show she’s been trying to get me into and I’ve avoided it because I knew I would get hooked. But she wanted me with her, so I stayed and watched. Nine hours later we finished the series and it was after 10:00 at night; time for bed.
The next day I figured she’d be less needy and would be off to her room, Skype, and her friends again, but she followed me around until I settled on the couch. She snuggled up to me and we ended up planning her 16th birthday party in the fall. She and her friends have been talking about an anime convention in Vancouver, WA for a few weeks and I was voted the first parent to approach about making it happen. It took me all day to put this plan in motion.
But I couldn’t forget my oldest daughter; she still needs help navigating through the end of the school year. And because she has short-timers disease with graduation looming in exactly two short months, she's getting overwhelmed just keeping up with homework.
Plus I have her 18th birthday party to prepare for, a graduation party to plan, and a school musical to attend several times (she’s playing in the symphony for it). And my youngest has to start getting her braces on next month (which takes at least 3 appointments).
Being overwhelmed with all my responsibilities, I decided to take a day this weekend and go scrapbooking with other enthusiasts. Although the day was meant to be for me, I worked on my oldest daughter's Japan album. But it was time away from the house and away from my kids with adult women.
While gathering pieces of the Japan album together, my oldest came into the room feeling overwhelmed with her English assignment. She gets a similar assignment for every book they read and she has yet to master the method. So I reminded her of the definition of insanity, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results," and redirected her to a different way to tackle the assignment.
I had her come into the computer room so I could coach her while I continued assembling items for my scrapbooking day away, all the while going in and out cooking dinner. I think it worked, because the hour she spent while I helicoptered around her, she got quite a bit done. However, on the day I was away scrapbooking, she didn’t get anything done.
I have to say I'm rather grateful I lived this last week during spring break and not during a normal school week, but I'm exhausted now that I’ve reached the end of it.
I think I need a vacation from this vacation.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to resting up from her vacation. You can read her column every week on covingtonreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or “like” Living with Gleigh on Facebook.