I thought it was a night like any other night. I was folding the laundry on my bed, listening to my daughter sing her heart out in the shower. Then my throat tightened and I felt panic set in. When did I last wash her hair?
I ran to the bathroom and opened the door so I could yell inside, “Katie, do you need any help washing your hair?”
Her reply brought tears to my eyes, “No, Mama. I’m fine.”
I’ve always tried my best to appreciate every day with my seven children. There has been a motto I’ve lived with in parenting ever since I had my first child:
Make sure they remember joy yesterday, experience joy today, and anticipate joy tomorrow.
I just didn’t know tomorrow would come so soon.
I’m a firm believer in kids playing hard and getting dirty. And my two oldest daughters sure did that. Every day, they were out in the Arizona sunshine–climbing, digging, swinging, and getting very, very dirty. Children have to get dirty. It’s a universal law. And I’m not about to tamper with universal law.
But with dirt, comes baths. I remember when my two oldest daughters, Kelsey and Katie, would take baths together. I would wash their hair, then let them play in the bathtub for awhile. It was our routine. Then they got older. Baths turned into showers, but I was still there to come in and help them wash their hair. Then the hair washing turned into just helping them rinse out the shampoo. Then the rinsing turned into the occasional, “let’s go back in the shower and I’ll help you rinse that one spot on top of your head.”
Then came, “No, Mama. I’m fine.”
Here’s the deal with motherhood: It’s our job to raise independent kids; but no one tells you how to handle it when it really happens.
I thought back–When was the last time? When was the last moment I rinsed the shampoo out of her hair? Why didn’t I know it was the last time? If I would have known, I would have done a better job, or made it last longer, or kissed her head, or something. I would have done something!