Sometimes our kids help us more than we help them. Our writer, Julia West, writes a letter to her “big kids” aged six and three, thanking them for everything they do and apologizing for falling short sometimes.
Dear Big Kids,
You may have noticed things have been a little chaotic around here lately. And by “lately,” I mean the majority of life you can remember. And as you’re becoming less dependent upon me, I seem to become more dependent upon you. Consider this a formal apology, a “thank you” and a “you’re welcome” for all the ways you answer when I call for your assistance.
Truthfully, I’m not sure you’re old enough at six and three to be considered “big kids.” But in this house, if you don’t wear a diaper and you can walk yourself to the car when it’s time to leave, you’re considered “big.” Still, I know that’s a young age to be mama’s extra set of hands. And you’re learning as our family grows the same lesson I am learning — sometimes you have work to do at the least convenient times.
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I know there have been times that you just got started on a puzzle or building a Lego masterpiece when I called your name to run and grab a diaper for me. There have been times you found me and started to tell me a story, and I interrupted to ask you to put the dog in his kennel before I forget. I’m so sorry. It may not look like it, but I often regret not allowing you to complete your own thought in order to complete my own. I know I need to slow down a little more, get myself together and not pass my scatter-brainedness on to you.
I know I ask for you to have an adult-amount of patience. You’ve waited on your breakfast, waited for me to read with you, waited for me to help you get ready for bed, often without even knowing what could be keeping me. One day, you might understand how the details of life seem to take up the day. One day, you might understand. But in the meantime, I so appreciate you showing me some grace. And for those times you seek me out to find out how you can help — you might as well just break my heart in two and fill my cup with joy until it overflows. Seeing you want to help and watching you learn how to help is like nourishment for my mama soul.
So, if that is the result of me needing your help, you’re welcome. I know it’s not always fun to help me unload the dishwasher, or to pick out your own clothes when you’re used to me doing that for you, or to have to help carry in the groceries rather than running on into the house to get back to your toys. But I know you can do it and I want you to know your capabilities and reach beyond them to learn and do more. I believe it’s important to consider others’ needs above your wants, and so I hope practicing that in everyday moments will be with you for life.
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So while I cannot tell you I’ll try to lighten your load, I will try to find a balance between letting you be little and slowly allowing you to see the real responsibilities of life and carry your own, proportional, weight. I love your little hands and helpful hearts. I’m so thankful to have you around.
Adoring you in the busy moments and the still moments,