Today is a special day. It's Guest Post Day! I'm delighted to introduce you to Lindsey from TattieTats, a blog in which she records her random, sometimes quirky, musings concerning parenting, her business, and the day to day adventures of a work at home mom. We have swapped posts for today and without further ado, this is what's been on her mind:
My dear son, Alex, will turn 9 on Sunday. He is celebrating his birthday tonight with a sleepover with four other boys. (Four! What was I thinking?) As I prepare the house for the coming whirlwind of rambunctiousness, I can’t help but think back over the years. My little boy is halfway grown up. The past nine years have passed so quickly. Where in the world have they gone? Will the next nine fly by just as fast?
Last week, Alex asked me if being nine was fun. I replied by saying, “Yes, it is, but you also have more responsibility,” my common canned answer for this sort of question. At the time, I was thinking that he would now be in charge of one more chore, perhaps two. I wasn’t considering the age itself, or the dangers that Alex may face in the moments in which I can’t (or shouldn’t) shelter him.
Yet, as I sit here, enjoying my morning soda as I mentally prepare myself for the day, I realize that Alex faces more dangers the older he gets. All of our children do, really. And, we can’t simply shelter them their entire lives, lest we deprive them of the chance to learn reasoning and develop the ability to make their own decisions and behave responsibly. At what point do we have to let go? I presume that I will always worry about my babies. That’s a mother’s prerogative.
When our babies are young, we wake up at night worrying about crib death. We eagerly take them to the pediatrician to give them immunizations, check their weight, height, and ears. We coddle them and hold hands and tighten their car seats until our faces turn purple with effort. But, what can we do when they’re older? When it is no longer cool or popular for them to hold our hands? When we have to send them off to school, where we can’t stand by ready to protect them if needed? What do we do then?
I suppose we hope that all the lessons we taught our children stick and that they don’t rebel against us. We hope that they choose good friends and we try to stay involved so that we know who those friends are. We pray to God that they will be sheltered from the evil that resides in this world. And, we trust them. We trust that they will make good decisions. We lend an ear when they need to talk. We find balance between childhood and maturity, the place where they are still little and want to be hugged, the longing that they have to spread their wings. We help them find the balance. We love them until it feels like we will explode, and we have faith that everything will turn out okay.
So, as my little boy crosses the halfway point to adulthood, I realize that I don’t have to let him go, not yet. But, I do need to help him learn to fly. I can’t pick him up every time he falls, lest he never learn to take care of himself, buy I can offer encouragement from the sidelines as he develops the skills and knowledge he will need as a man.