My five year old daughter is growing up! Today she went to a birthday party all by herself! I know it might not seem like a momentous occasion but it’s just another sign that she’s growing up. Instead of passing the time chatting to the other mums, I dropped her off and went home.
Growing Up Is Hard To Watch
As I waved goodbye and got into my car, I had a pang of panic.
- Would she be okay?
- Was I doing the right thing leaving her?
- What if she got left out?
- What if she didn’t understand the games?
I had to remind myself that she’s used to being without me. She fends for herself every day at school. She knows most of the children at the party. But still it felt different today.
School is non-negotiable; she has to go. The party was a social occasion.
This time, she was leaving me by choice.
Now I’m not saying for a minute that she should stay by my side for the rest of her life. It’s just that, it was hard enough when she started school. Suddenly there was this big chunk of her day that I didn’t know anything about. But it seems like I’m losing more and more hours; after school clubs, youth groups, and now parties.
18 months ago, I could have given you a blow-by-blow account of her entire day – where she went, what she ate, who she talked to. I was a stay at home mum – I saw all her firsts, and witnessed all her triumphs.
Now she’s her own person.
She has friends that I only know by name. I have no idea what she does in school. She has interests that I know nothing about.
You Go Girl!
I want her to grow. I want her to flourish. I am proud of the way that she is learning to negotiate social situations. I am pleased when I hear how capable she is.
But it still tugs at my heart a bit.
It’s a one-way journey, this parenting thing. We’re slowly equipping our dearest belongings with the tools they need to leave us. We’re teaching them how not to need us!
I feel this constant battle – a proud smile lighting my face, and a cold ache in my heart – every time she shows me how much she is growing up.
She won’t have a clue about any of this, of course. I’m just confiding in you. She will just see her beaming mummy, her biggest cheerleader, encouraging her to go for it; to keep moving forward and keep pushing her limits. I am determined that she will be independent, confident, and capable.
But all the same, I wish I could keep her close forever…