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Celebrate the smothering!


Have you ever had one of those stunning moments of recognition that leaves you both horrified and utterly delighted simultaneously? Well, here’s one for the record books:

I’m snuggled up on the couch with both boys watching our new favorite show “Shark Tank.” My oldest has his head on my shoulder and my youngest is curled deliciously into my side. And it suddenly hits me; no one will ever love me as much as I am being loved in this current moment.

What a stark realization. I mean, I see it every day. The separation that has to happen with boys and their mother. They need to individuate. That’s critical for their own development and growth. They need to find girls and then women who appeal to them for romantic relationships. I know all of this. But I’m not sure we ever stop to really appreciate the few years we have where we are the all powerful love force in our kids’ lives. Cause I can see the edge of the horizon, and it’s approaching way too rapidly.

While our kids are and will always be the individuals we moms love more than anyone in the world, the reciprocal is simply not the case. We may be the central love interest for a lot of years. But ultimately, if we want our kids to be happy and healthy people, we want to see them paired off with someone of their own age to build a life and develop a future. That means we need to fade into oblivion in a sense. Ouch.

So once again I need to slow down, take a deep breath and stop getting irritated every time my boys fight like Ali and Frazier over who gets to sit next to me at a restaurant. I have to appreciate the smothering attention that often accompanies our late afternoon dips in the pool when all I really want to do is swim laps by myself. I must promise to put on a smile when one of them demands a band-aid and kiss after a mere flesh wound that interrupts my dinner prep schedule.

Why is it so hard to appreciate the precious few moments of joy and adoration we’re afforded as parents? We’re all so damn busy making sure they grow up to be good, kind people, that we manage to miss the parts of the job that might actually feed us and give us the energy we need for endless more loads of laundry and eternal dishwasher emptying. Well, I for one am vowing to pay attention to the good moments, to accept the love my kids are offering so freely right now, to embrace their neediness, whining and overwhelming demands. Because one of these days, I’ll have a lot less dishes to empty and a lot less laundry to complain about.

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

3 responses to “Celebrate the smothering!

  1. Dave Beck

    I can only assume you are a widower or a single parent with no involvement by the father. If this is not the case and you are married, you totally deleted the father’s role in your son’s lives.
    Which is correct?

    • gettrich

      I’m perplexed by your comment. I am neither a widow nor am I a single parent. My husband is a deeply dedicated father who takes a consistent and caring role in parenting duties and household responsibilities. Deleted the father’s role? Come on, who do you think teaches the boys how to belch, fart and throw a pigskin around the backyard? JK. Please read some of my past blogs. We have a loving, egalitarian household and both parents work together to raise our boys.

  2. a

    Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

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