"I need to go potty."
Okay, so he is old enough that he doesn't need his hand held for this any more but for whatever reason the boys have all looked for that late-night (early morning!) reassurance that I'm still there when they need me - even for going to the bathroom. (Truthfully, by now, I go stand and wait, remind them to wipe the seat, put the lid down, flush the toilet and wash their hands...)
Later in the morning while Jeff was getting ready for work, Bruiser's new alarm went off. He has one of those "old-fashioned" types with two bells on top that is raucous and loud and will get your heart jump-started in an (ahem) alarming way. He hadn't set it himself the night before, someone else had turned it on but it was left in his room. He bolted upright and in a panic called my name again, "MOOOOOOM! ... MOM!!"
Even now at 34 I occasionally need that reassurance that Mom is still there so I try to call her pretty often and just say 'hi,' even though she's just as much "friend" as "Mom" now. Battlefield casualties, us nearing-middle-agers when we're feeling sick, teens when they're getting past an early heart break or disappointment, pre-teens as they navigate middle school, younger kids when bad dreams wake them from sound sleep... all look to Mom for comfort and reassurance that they're not alone in the world. (Then they often go to Pop for the heavy-hitting advice and big decisions!)
Each time I am called this way, I feel like one of those pull-string toys. Pull the string out and, if you hold onto it the toy will come whirring back just as you're looking for it. We Moms can't - and shouldn't! - be the ones holding the string, they will call when they need us - less and less for that reassurance and more and more to just check in and chat, as they get older. Sometimes we should whir back, give a pat and pull the string out ourselves to make them stand on two feet. But isn't it nice to have that knowledge that Mom is still there?
What to do once she's gone though? And one day, She will be, of course, but at the same time She won't. She'll be there watching, waiting, listening and giving advice; either through the friendships you've established while she was here or through the echo of her words and writings. In an upcoming post, I will be putting an idea for a Mother's Day gift that is meant to help strengthen our connections with Mom and get more of those precious words of advice down on paper for when you need the echo to be there.
Thank God for our Moms, whatever age we are.