girl on monkey barsThe following video is short -- just 23 seconds -- but it pretty well sums up one of the most excruciating but inevitable challenges of parenthood. In just four simple words this little girl named Riley describes the roller coaster ride parents face throughout their children's lives.

There she is on the monkey bars with her dad standing by ready to assist. Then she begins the poignant mantra: "I need you!" "I don't need you!" "I need you!" Watch for yourself after the jump.

 

This isn't my daughter, but oh how it could be. At only 3, I hear this refrain constantly. When she needs me I sink into her with a tender love and fierce sense of determination to do whatever it takes to help her through the challenge or reach her goal. Then I'm suddenly smacked in the face (sometimes literally) with her fierce determination to DO IT HERSELF as I'm quickly cast aside.

Looking back at my own life, I can see how I did it to my parents, and how they likely did it to theirs. It's a natural part of growing up ... though some just do it more extremely than others. Even from a young age it's there though -- that desperate need for our parents there to support us and that desperate need to shove them away as hard as we can.

As hard as it can be to hear your child tell  you they don't you need you sometimes, it's also a source of pride when they do. If only they always articulated such feelings with words. I think it's so much more difficult as they get older and don't want to tell us when they need us, or don't think they need us when they do. We can only hope to be there for them when they do.

The painful yet reassuring fact is this never goes away -- no matter if your child (or you) is 3 or 33. Because no matter how old we get, we all need our mommy or daddy sometimes.

Do you feel the strong push and push from your children?