OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing a mom is weird. Half the time I still feel like I’m the kid. Like I’m pretending to be a grownup. Like I’m playing house. So when is it that I actually start feeling like a grownup? Does that ever happen?

Yesterday morning Cara got a small splinter in her finger. It was her first splinter and I to dig it out with tweezers. She screamed hysterically. She fought me with every ounce of strength she had. As I was holding her she gave me a look of absolute betrayal.

I knew exactly how she felt.

I don’t have a lot of memories from my childhood. But the few I have I remember really clearly. And I distinctly remember the feeling of total dread I had when I got a splinter because I knew what was coming. I remember screaming hysterically when my mom dug it out with a needle or tweezers. I remember wondering how in the world she could hurt me like that when she’s supposed to protect me. She’s mom.

As I was getting the splinter, I knew I was hurting her and it broke my heart. But I also knew I had to get the splinter out so it didn’t get infected. So I had to cause her pain to protect her.

And suddenly I knew exactly how my mom felt. I understood how hard it is to make your baby cry when all you want to do is hold her and comfort her.

Every once in a while I have a moment as a parent where I feel like caught between two worlds. I feel torn … splintered, if you will. When I’m doing a “mom” thing, I’m playing the wrong part. In real life I’m still supposed to be the kid in this situation, not the adult. I’m not supposed to be holding the tweezers. I’m still the kid.

I’m just pretending to be mom.

So does it actually ever become real? Could it be that my mom still feels like a kid, too? LIke she’s playing the role of mom (and grandma) but she’s still a kid pretending too?

7 thoughts on “Splintered

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  1. Some days I feel exactly the same way. When Charlie, our dog, got sick, I didn’t feel nearly adult enough to be making the decisions we had to make. I think of a friend our age who has to make just a serious of decisions about her terminally ill 7 year old daughter and wonder how I could deal with something like that. I suppose the truth is that if we are doing life right we may always feel like a kid and a little unprepared for what comes next because we never really stop having new experiences (like being responsible for another person’s well-being), so we always have room for learning, growth, and development. In fact, it appears to be true that the older I get the more I realize how little I know. And the more like a kid I can feel. So of course I don’t know how to dig the little rocks out of her knees when she falls down in the gravel. Or at least I don’t know how to do it without feeling the guilt that comes from that look in her eyes when mommy hurts her more than the fall, itself, did. Great post, Becky! Really got me thinking!

  2. I tell you, being a mom is still so surreal to me. I get it. At least twice a week I say to myself wow, you’re a mom O_O. Like, this is really happening. But I’m not done growing up yet :-/

  3. Glad I’m not the only one that feels this way, Becky! Maybe as we get older and wiser, we can stay kids at heart. Having to do grown-up things still sucks, though.

    1. Sheila! It’s so great to hear from you. I hope you’re doing well. Just checked out your blog and I was very touched by your Mother’s Day post.

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