As all of you know, Mothers are pulled in many directions. Our house needs attention, there is laundry to do, the kids need fed, played with and bathed, and your husband needs his lunch packed. Or perhaps you feel the need to spend some time in prayer, reading, or getting groceries. If you aren't feeling the need internally, there is always the "Mom, I need you!" calls that seem to come just as you are getting involved in something else. And for me, the feeling of being pulled is often more than emotional or implied. My daughter has learned that to put herself in the pecking order of things, tugging on Mommy's arm gets her attention. Yes, we are pulled in many directions, sometimes literally!
This evening the 'pull' is a new one. Laura has discovered the computer. Oh, don't get me wrong. She has watched the rest of us sit in front of the glowing box for several years now and she'll tug at our arm to get us to leave it. And she's done her share of just sitting down and tapping the keys or moving a mouse all over the place, clicking as she goes, causing who knows who much chaos with school projects and even blog drafts. But today is different. Today she's playing her first computer game.
Yesterday, as we were at the library signing up for the summer reading program, I happened to look over at a box of materials waiting to be returned to the shelves. There sat Caillou smiling at me, beckoning me to just pick him up. I did only to discover a computer game for children 2-6. You must understand that Caillou is one of Laura's all time, absolute favorites. Her weekdays are planned around the twice a day showing on PBS. She even is learning to tell time because she knows when the show will be airing. The rest of us have a hard time finding the appeal, but then we aren't three. Anyway, Caillou somehow managed to make it in to my library bag, through the check out and home in one piece.
This evening, Daddy loaded the game for her on the computer in the family room. She immediately declared it "my computer" and amazed us with her quick grasp of how to move the mouse, click and drag, and so on. She's playing her first game on her own. She's thrilled! Her excitement is catchy. We all stood around watching her play, smiling at each other and mouthing things like "can you believe that?" and saying "Way to go, Laura!" when she got something right. And then we all slowly took off to our separate activities, content that she was having a great time. But it did not last.
"I neeeeeed you!" followed by silence soon came from the family room. Matthew, deeply ensconced in a WWI video was oblivious. "Jonathan! I neeeeeeed you!" was soon heard at higher and higher decibels, rising from her young body with increasing determination. She was moving up the 'help me' ladder. I waited to hear my name. It didn't come. Finally, the very determined newbie computer whiz found me and clung to my leg. Then she looked up and said "Mom, I need you".
I smiled at her and smoothed her hair. Yes, she needed me. This time it wasn't for a clean diaper, food or more milk. Or because she fell and needed a healing hug. Instead she was growing up. She really didn't need a 'Mommy'. She just needed a computer techie. And she found one. Together we fixed the program and she's off once again, independently playing her game.
It isn't the first time she's shown some independence but it certainly feels like a big turning point. She's doing what the 'big kids' do. She's playing on the computer. But I hope that she'll remember that all she needs to do is yell "I need you!" no matter what she's doing or how old she gets, and I'll come. I'm her Mom. I'm used to being needed. I get great joy out of her little needs. And thankfully, there are many more years of them ahead. Aren't there?