I sometimes get tired of my kids. Like when the 2-year-old cries unless I'm holding him, while the 3-year-old keeps trying to climb up my leg. Or when I'm holding and hugging my 3-year-old, but she keeps whining and trying to get closer, strangling me with her efforts. Or when the 5-year-old acts like my tail, hiding behind me when we meet someone new, refusing to make eye contact or say "hello," sticking so close to me that I trip over her whenever I turn around. Or when I'm tired or hungry or busy or sick, and all 3 of them insist that they just want to be with mommy, and no one else will do. It makes me want to yell at them, and sometimes I do.
I remembered the other day what my life had been like in college - before marriage, before kids. When I found myself home alone, with no one else around. When I felt sad because it seemed, at times, like no one else really wanted to be with me, or ever put me first, or even remembered I existed. I was single. A quiet weekend got to be lonely at times, not a restful break. (It would be a vacation, nowadays!)
Don't get me wrong - I've always been an introvert and I appreciate, even crave, having plenty of alone time, both back in college and today. I have always been rather self-sufficient, getting along just fine by myself, finding plenty to keep me occupied. But there were always moments of sadness (or perhaps self-pity?), when I felt friendless, or forgotten. Sitting there by myself, wondering what everyone else was doing, and why they hadn't invited me.
I remembered those times the other day, and it made me think.
I never have to feel sad about not being needed or wanted anymore. When I feel like the kids are being too needy, I just need to remember those lonely feelings I used to have when I was single, and I will remember the blessings of having a family and having children. I will smile a bit, sit down and hold them all, let them get their fill - and feel needed.