Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Independence Day

June 9, 2010

I feel this summer will be what I call "The summer of independence".

My oldest started swim lessons on her own (no mommy & me) this year. The first class ended in tears and frustration and screams of "I'm never going back to the pool again". That was 6 weeks ago and now we can't get her to leave the pool. She likes to see how long she can stay underwater, she likes to prove she can do more in the water than her little brother, and she finally jumped in for the first time yesterday. A little trick that took her 2 full classes to muster up the courage and then it was into 1 foot of water. But she did it...she took the leap. So why am I the one holding my breath? Why do I feel like I'm the one jumping into the deep end?

In just days she "graduates" Kindergarten. I won't forget how she let go of my hand on that first day and marched into school like she was always meant to be there. I won't forget the day she let go of my hand to cross the road all by herself to board the bus. I won't forget how she clutched tight to my hand when we moved to a new school and I had to encourage her to let go.

These are not her first examples of independence. I remember a little part of my heart breaking when she was just under a year old and decided that she no longer wanted or needed to be rocked to I put her in her crib and she put herself to sleep. Bittersweet indeed. Just months ago she wanted us to read her bedtime stories and now she insists that she will be the one reading to us...try as I might the nights of rocking her gently to Goodnight Moon are becoming too few and far between.

While it seems that this is the summer of independence I know it didn't just happen overnight, I know her Daddy & I are very big influnces to her finding her ability to let go and do it herself, I know it's hard to be the one letting go and I wonder if it's as hard for her as it is me to be the one to pull away. I also know that between now and adulthood a lot more examples of her letting go and finding her independence will challenge my instincts to hold on tight.

Yes, I will learn to encourage her to let go, Yes I will push her to try it all by herself, and yes, I will watch her take that first leap while holding my breath. I will praise and cheer from the sidelines and teach her to be first and foremost proud of herself before searching out the pride she will see from us. Yes I will celebrate this summer of her independence and I will allow myself to pull away and celebrate my own.

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