“In order for you to grow, I must let go”

 My daughter is now at an age where she can enjoy indoor and outdoor playgrounds. She enjoys playing with other children, looking at other children, and showing me (I think) that she can do things on her own.

And, I’m at an age in my motherhood where I’ve, finally, come to really be okay with this stage.

At one time, I feared becoming a helicopter parent. I feared the unknown that existed outside of my parental control over her childhood, her life.

I feared the world. 

But now, now I’ve come to accept that bumps and bruises, tears, unknowns, dirty dresses, and, sometimes, rude children all come with the territory of childhood.

I’ve come to accept my own limitations in parenting and the limitations of the perfect bubble that I so wanted to create for my precious girl within this world. 

I still carry around a hand sanitizer pump in the front of my purse pocket, face and hand wipes in her diaper bag, and hover closely (at least more closely than some of the other parents) to her as she makes her way through crowds of children, sometimes, twice her size at playgrounds, but I’ve learned to mostly let go.

I’ve learned to step back, to be more of an observer to her world, to her social relationships, to her new-found self than an overbearing participant.

I let go because this is what my daughter wants. She needs my hand to hold at some times, but not all the time. She can do some things on her own.  Often, when doing those things on her own and with other children, she’ll look back to me as if to say, “See, mommy. It’s okay. I can do this.” She looks back at me as if she needs to know, to see in my eyes, that I trust that she will be okay.

And, I do. “I trust that you’ll be okay without me,” I say each time.

I let go because this is what she, seems, to need. She’s not a teenager, yet, but a toddler testing the boundaries of her very young world. She’s not, I must remind myself, the baby that I once could cradle within the confines of my lap to soothe.

It (or letting go is) is what I needed, too.

Do you know what it’s like to be so overly concerned with your child’s well being that it’s paralyzing? 
When I use the word “paralyzing,” I mean in the sense that you are mentally unwilling to do most things, things that you’ve heard in the news or experienced yourself, because of the possibility of hurt, pain, despair, and germs.

No? Well, it’s exhausting.

I can’t protect my daughter from everything, the scenes from the indoor and outdoor playground that we frequent are teaching me that very important lesson in parenting.

I can’t catch her every time that she falls, or stand in the way of the three-year old who decides to push her because she’s a “baby.” But, I can always be there to put neon colored Band-Aids on her scraped knees, to be her mom, and I am always there, always watching, amazed most often by her ability to be her own little person. 

I can’t (and don’t want to) live in fear. 

Parenting, it seems is a test, the greatest test in trusting that the universe will not swallow our most precious possessions alive, isn’t it? It’s test in trusting that there’s something greater that’s protecting our children, that everything will be okay.

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What tests in “letting go” are you facing with your children? How do you get through those tests?