The kids were adamant they wanted to go the steep way. The trail the just goes straight up one of our most frequented hills has always been their favorite. I tend to beg off because I end up carrying someone, the one with the shortest legs who shall not be named, at least part of the way.
Today was different. I had just read a chapter in It’s OK to Go Up the Slide about allowing our kids more independence and not over-protecting. So, instead of forcing them up the side trail with me, I finally sent them up on their own and met them at the top with Meg.
We’ve been hiking a lot these last couple years so they’re getting pretty savvy all things trails and completely familiar with today’s trail. They were completely capable.
There was basically no risk involved – no bikes, no loose dogs, no roads, and lots of families – only five-ish minutes out of my sight.
They did it and they reveled in it.
Their joy was too much fun and I’ll be looking for more chances like this.
This gradual independence is not easy for me at this point. I want to keep my kids close at all times. When they’re little it is the right thing to do, but they are just beginning to get to the age where they need to have a little more freedom and responsibility for their own selves.
Part of my struggle is that I don’t want to trust them to a world where there are people who are not nice and bad things happen. But no matter what I do they are going to figure that out and things will happen. And God is in charge, not me. I should really get over myself a little here. haha.
It is so easy to completely overthink things, especially how we’re doing with our kids. This independence thing will be one of the natural growing points as we venture past the realm of little littles into the little bigs. I think it will be a blast, but also feel a little bit ridiculous on the inside because how on earth is that going to work out? But life with kids is pretty gradual, so I think we’ll be ok.
Also God created them whole people to help guide and fight the situation, too. They’ll be no complacency.
Fraught with tears, fighting, scrapes, and mistakes, for sure, but we get to learn together how to make it work for us in our own way. Even in their little growing forms when they require a little guidance to make their way through the world, they are still completely themselves. I have a feeling creating space for each of us to be completely ourselves, together and apart, is going to be the shuffling of these years.
But also joy. And the excitement. And the epic wonderful.
The beginning is here when we send them on mini-expeditions up a hill. A sibling team of adventurers setting off. Looking tiny, but feeling so big. Fully supported and assured of their competence because mommy let them go alone, and all of us knew they could do it.
Between the all of us, parents, God, kids, family, it’ll all work out. They’ll be reaching toward whole and free and brave, and we will be, too.
This month I am joining the #write31days community to explore the idea of the Whole Together Family because I believe we get be who God created us to be – together. Find the whole list posts here or click on the image.