The Job I Never Asked For But Always Needed

I never intended to be her mother, and I never wanted to steal that role away from the woman who can rightfully claim it. In fact, I had declared on multiple occasions that I would never become a mother if I had anything to say about it and that rearing a child was not in my future. It’s not that I don’t enjoy children, in fact they are some of my favorite kind of people, but I never felt the motherly urge to want to raise mini versions of me. I am open to the idea of adoption, and that’s essentially what was handed to me the year after I graduated college. I never asked for it, but I never really knew what to ask for in life anyway. Life knew what I needed to be handed, and that was Colleen. She is my little sister by birth, but has become my daughter by accident. Mom and Dad never intended to abandon her, and Mom in fact did not physically do so but Colleen was left standing all alone her senior year of High School and I was drawn back to her to cater to her needs. I fed her as best I could off of three jobs and worked through weekends until I was promoted to a job that could pay for so much more. I looked forward to returning to her every evening after work and sharing dinner with her when I could. I double checked that she had everything she needed to succeed in school and celebrated her good grades. I delivered lunch to her at work when I had a spare 30 minutes and slipped her extra cash when I was able. I paid for her life when she allowed me to — because she had proven time and time again that she was a capable adult at the age of 13. She had her life more together than I had in years, yet she needed me and I needed her. I needed a best friend who would forgive me for all wrongs I had done in the past, and she needed a mom who encouraged her to get out and experience what life has to offer. I needed a reminder that life is more than a pursuit of intoxication and she needed someone who encouraged her to let go. I needed to find stability and she needed to be pushed outside of her comfort zone. She needed an older guide through life, and although I had no idea which direction I was headed in, I was thankful for the company along the way. I wanted to pass down my limited wisdom and tell her that life is not meant to be stressed over but rather enjoyed, and I needed to hear those same words echo throughout my life.
I never wanted to feel responsible for another human being and I never wanted the pressure of leading a new soul through this world. I am anxious that I will let her down and that one day she will look up and realize that I am only human and not the ideal role model she needs in her life. I am worried that one day she will no longer need me and no longer see the value in me that I struggle to see without her eyes. I am worried that one day the facade that I can do no wrong will fall and I will be left to be raised by her instead. I’m worried that I cannot make this last and that when she graduates college and moves across the country for Graduate School, I will become irrelevant. I am nervous that she will move on with her life and move on without me, and I am worried that I will not know what to do when I am no longer playing the role I told myself I never wanted to play in the first place. I am worried that I will lose her to life and that this bond that we have created will lessen with time and distance and that the relationship we had once depended on so heavily will cease to be what we remember it fondly as. I am worried that our prime is over and that she is grown up and no longer needs me as much as I need her. And I am worried that if I am no longer playing the role of secondary mother for her, that she will not forget how to be my sister. I am terrified of losing my best friend and daughter to the world and that she will never find her way back into my life. And I am incredibly sad that I feel an era coming to an end. She no longer needs me to take her to her first music festival, and no longer seeks my advice when encountering a new drug. She can plan her own road trips and navigate her life expertly without assistance. She can pay for her own food better than I can pay for my own, and she makes better food than I have the skill to create. She is making plans for her life without consulting me first and is confident that she is making the right decisions for herself. She will be graduating college in just a few months and I will no longer be known as a mother to her and her friends. I will no longer have a house that I am welcomed at as a matriarch and I will no longer have life updates to check in on them with. I will have to move on from mothering and I am terrified that they all might forget what I have given them in the past and to stay in touch with me. I don’t want to move on because I have never felt so loved before in my young life, and I have never felt so much irrational love for one individual. I am afraid that the love will not be enough to return to when she has all the answers for her own life, and that I will be left all alone again trying to figure out what to do on my own. I am terrified that this is a relationship with an expiration date and that I am rapidly and carelessly approaching that deadline without having any backup plan to make it last longer. What will I do when she no longer needs money from me? And what will I do when she no longer calls me when she needs to talk through an important decision? Who will I be without her as my dependent? And who will I care for when she is gone? And who will care for me when she no longer sees the point in it? I have to grow up because she is, and I don’t want to be an adult. I want to be a mother and I want to find comfort in knowing that I am needed. I want to serve a purpose in other’s lives and I want my influence to be welcomed and thanked. I don’t want to be forgotten, but the passing of time only works against that aim. I have to find a way to stay connected with her and involved in her life without smothering her because I no longer know who I am without her.