I’m being phased out at work.
Slowly the boss has taken over all the tasks that used to be mine. Admittedly it was liberating when he started tying his shoes and wiping off his own butt. Excitedly he reported that he didn’t need me to wash his hair and I was like, “perfect.” (I never did it right to begin with). These were all improvements making my life easier. I had no reason to think my job would be in jeopardy, but quickly I became nervous.
I started to question my importance last week.
Watching Gilmore Girls while I did the laundry a life changing event took place. Jess was confronting Rory about her feelings for him. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, Rory is a prep school genius from Connecticut and Jess is a bad boy with a proclivity for classic literature. The drama is palpable. Liam came in with an urgent matter. “Um can I have some milk?” I was lurched out of Stars Hollow and back into my townhouse which was now seemingly infested with unmatched socks. “Milk? for lunch?” “Yes, I need it now please” I told him it would be a minute.
I finished the scene and walked out to the kitchen. This is where I found him placing the gallon back in the fridge, a full minions glass on the ground. Incredulous, I asked if he had poured it himself. “Yeah I was thirsty.” He said it like it was nothing, like he hadn’t just proclaimed something in Portuguese. So, this is what we’re doing now, I thought. We are pouring our own glasses and designing our own outfits and making our own forts. I guess loyalty means nothing. Soon he will be driving himself to soccer and deciding he prefers his eggs poached instead of scrambled. Good grief.
This ungrateful little self-assured urchin was taking over.
I suddenly became hyper aware of all the jobs that were no longer mine.
What happened to organizing his stuffed animals? Now they were placed in accordance to friendship rather than size. Where were the pleas to be held during dinner prep? I could barely get him inside to eat anymore. Inexplicably I found myself missing peek-a-boo marathons and tummy time scoots.
I resolved to address my inevitable dismissal by confronting his insolence directly. I found him in his room and what I saw next was so shocking and perverse I still struggle to recount it. He was eating an apple with the skin on! Can you imagine? “Do you want me to take the skin off that buddy?” He continued eating. “No mom the green part is the best part.” A stranger stood before me.
I wondered how many changes I had missed, how many jobs had I given up in celebration or without even realizing?
I remember taking him out of his crib in the morning and feeding him cereal with a Mickey Mouse spoon. Back then I was compensated with baby giggles and turns with his toys. Now he was getting up without me, he was choosing his cereal and asking me to turn on Blaze and The Monster Machines because Baby Einsteins was of course “only for babies.” I blinked and now our favorite shows were too juvenile.
We need to be needed. This is the charge of motherhood. We are fulfilling the necessary mom jobs until we have inadvertently taught them to do it for themselves. You are the storytellers and the boo-boo kissers. We are the banishers of monsters and the makers of funny face pancakes. If we lose these titles what is left for us? What would unemployment from motherhood look like?
I imagine I would need less coffee and own nicer things, but who could handle the demotion?
In my anguish I returned to my laundry, lost in the Rory and Jess drama once more. Rory was about to admit her feelings when Mr. Independent himself came bursting through the door. “Moooooooooom.” I can tell the degree of dire from how long he pronounces my name. I knew he was coming with more bad news, perhaps he had reset the router and still couldn’t get service on his new android. I didn’t know his life anymore. “My bug catcher is broken” he was in a panic. “Help me! They’re all going to escape!”
We don’t lose our jobs, but instead experience these tiny promotions.
When one duty is given up a new one springs to life. Like the caterpillar we are in constant evolution. Just as I thought my mom days were over I found that only the job description had changed. I am raising an independent child, as he learns to take over one task, he will be challenged with something new. That will always be my job. Liam grows as a person while move up as a mother.
I sprang into action with my Gorilla Glue and closed the holes in his bug catcher without fugitive incident. I had been useful, and I was still good at moming. From the dairy beverage distributor to bug cage engineer, I had moved up and on. We were doing this together. He smiled at me and gave me the greatest hug I’ve ever experienced. “I love you more than all the lizards in all the worlds.” So although the promotion was unexpected, the pay was more than worth it. For now, I’ll cherish the mom jobs I have today; the jobs that are mine in this moment. I now appreciate how quickly this tiny human is learning and growing and who knows when my next promotion will be.
As the great Steven Tyler once said
“I don’t wanna miss a thing.”