Letting Go, Independence & 7-year-old girls

“I’d like to go by myself on our next field trip.”

It was a simple request slipped into normal conversation. My 7-year-old daughter didn’t need fanfare, a parade or a flashing sign to take another important step of independence. She was happy to have me along for the 1st grade trip to the aquarium, especially when she was extra worried about a few logistical elements. But once she realized she could do it, she was ready to experience something new in her life without her mom hanging around the edges.

I’m thankful for a letting go practice, because it made a moment that was tempting to hold on, a lot easier. She is ready. As long as an adult can handle her peanut allergy with confidence, then I’m ready too. But of course, my throat chokes with a mix of weird emotion.

I would hate to keep holding on out of my fear of what could happen and miss her quiet yet confident voice, “Mom, I can do this.” So instead of convincing her that she’s not ready, when really it’s me who struggles a bit, I told her, “Sounds great, sweetheart. I’m always happy to go on any of your field trips, but if you want to go with just your friends, that’s wonderful. I think you’re ready.”

The next morning as we walk to school, I ask if she’s ready to cross the road and walk the last part by herself. She nodded yes. We approached the crosswalk and she grabbed my hand and said, “Cross with me.” We got to the other side and she pulled me aside for a hug. She let go and turned toward school. Then she turned back and grabbed my arm and kissed me on my cheek. Then she swung around and marched toward her school property. As she rounded the corner, she turned and waved to me. We both smiled and she disappeared from sight.

Palms up. Our kids are capable of so much. Let’s enjoy them while we raise them and they raise us.

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