Friday, May 29, 2009

A 1/4 Milestone

Today, I took that giant leap of faith. The one I have been avoiding for several months. The one that was so traumatic, I am actually writing about it. Today, I let The Boy walk to school without anyone walking with him, crossing him over the street, or watching him walk to make sure he gets there.

The school is about six houses away, down the street. It's a quiet neighborhood, with many other children being walked to school each day. But, as close as the school is, I can't see it from here. This makes me crazy.

Every child needs to find a new level of independence at each age. Crawling was an act of independence, walking even more so. But what mother doesn't try to cushion the possible side-effects of learning these new skills?

The learning curve seems to be the child's, but in fact, it may be a shared experience. The child learns new skills, gains confidence, and with each independent move sharpens the line of separation. They become persons, individuals in their own rights. The parent learns that to allow that independence, to let those apron strings get erased and of course, the worst lesson - letting go.

There are gains for the parent, to be sure. There is a freeing-up of the time that used to be spent on things like diapering and spoon-feeding. I can have a coffee table without worrying that some child with an unsteady gait will crash head-long into it (The Boy may still do this, but he's a boy). We don't have to buy only melamine plates and plastic cups, we can have real china.

But even with all those gains, I still wonder if I wasn't better off with the 2 month old who couldn't go anywhere without me and would always be right where I put him. It saves a lot of worrying when he doesn't have to cross the street.

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