As I stretched across the bed to catch the corner of the mattress with the fitted sheet, a thought slipped through my brain –
“I’m going to be doing this forever.”
I was changing the sheets on Maura’s bed.
With the older three kids, I’ve watched them grow more independent each year, more able, more adult. They do their own laundry, they can fix dinner for the family, they change the sheets on their own beds.
Meanwhile, I have to help Maura still with all those things, at an age where she should be branching out to be more independent. And it’s hitting me once again, how life with her will be a forever thing. It sounds sad, but I’m not sad about it. Oh, I’d much rather pay someone to put the sheets on her bed and mine – it’s not a task I enjoy at all. But it’s a task that needs to be done, and there’s no village pounding down my door to do the mundane life things, like change her sheets on a regular basis.
So I do it. Because that’s just what needs to be done.
We watch “The Penguins of Madagascar” for the umpteeth time. Because she’s yet to outgrow it. And again, that’s okay, because we still can enjoy it.
She has toys I bought her several years ago that are so well loved and still cherished and played with. Worn, grubby dolls that have moved into almost a Velveteen Rabbit status, they’ve been so loved. Who knows, maybe they come to life at night. They come to life in her imagination still.
So much has changed in our lives, but so much within Maura’s world stays the same. She still has the backpack we bought five years ago, the magenta sparkly one. The penguin collection that includes a one-flippered penguin, and the other one that’s missing part of his beak because Maura used to chew on said beak. The pink Barbie VW Beetle that she got in the charity shop on the way home from school her first weeks in Ireland five years ago.
The seasons of Maura are kind of like California weather. You can have storm or wildfire once in a while, but most of the time, it’s sunny and warm, and all is good.
Things don’t move fast in Maura’s world. Not time, or the seasons of life. That’s okay. Because what also doesn’t change is her great attitude and loving nature. Even with a dose of almost-teen attitude, she’s still so happy and loving. She’s learning to mature in other ways, she’s not stuck in one space. Yet, I also know she’s always going to need some help. And that’s okay. Because even though I hate putting sheets on the bed, and picking up her room after she’s gone through it like an F5 tornado, hearing her squeal and go “OH! My ROOM!” with delight is totally worth it all.