You know that thing where kids grow up and insist on selfing by themselves?
As a parent, it’s difficult. It means they don’t need you as much. It means they’re moving away from your loving bosom. And it means it takes 3 damned hours to walk from the car to the freaking house.
Henry is fairly independent now. He still relies on us for emotional support and some basic needs (toast), but he’s pretty much a full person. Anna is in the I DO IT MYSELF trial period, where she sort of kind of can do it herself, but also sort of stumbles and loses focus and ends up picking dandelions when she’s supposed to be doing anything else. But you can’t help her. Oh, no. I pity the fool who tries to urge her along or pick her up or distract her from her distraction. She will cut any bitch who tries.
It’s also hard to trust their independence because you’re still on the hook for their safety. We’ve recently transitioned from both kids in (iBert) bike seats to Henry always on his own, on his own bike (First Bike balance bike for now, new bike with pedals coming soon). Even for long rides, across busy streets, in traffic dense areas. It’s time. He’s ready. He’s too big for the bike seat and HE CAN DO IT HIMSELF. It’s a huge leap of faith for us, because it just takes him being impulsive once or unaware for a second for disaster to occur. But he can do it, and so he should do it. No matter how scared it might make me now and then.
I know there’s driving a car and going to college and getting married and all that on deck. This early childhood stuff is just getting us parents ready for that stuff, I guess.
“Parenting is to decide forever to let your heart walk around outside your body” wrote smart author, Elizabeth Stone.
It’s a delicate dance. Encouraging your kids to explore and challenge themselves, but also keeping them safe and helping them make wise choices. I find it’s a lot of biting my tongue and reining in my inherent neurosis so as not to get in their way as they do big things. Sometimes, despite myself, I get in their way and make it worse. I make them hesitate or doubt themselves and it causes them anxiety or interference. Occasionally when Anna is trying to leap from tall buildings BY HERSELF, the more I try to keep her safe, the more she trips on her cape and comes tumbling down. It’s a fine line, though, because I’ve also saved her little blond life many times.
Being a kid is cool. You get to learn about all the things in the universe, most importantly who you are and how you work. Being an adult parent person is exactly the same, but now you think you know some stuff, and you are legally bound to assist small people with their own development, too.
If you’re like me, mostly watching your kids grow up and become their own people is fantastic. Still, there are times you wish you could keep your kids swaddled in your arms forever…and there are way MORE times you wish you yourself could be in a ginormous swaddle (and rocked in huge arms like God’s or Patrick Swayze’s).