Letting Go

June.  Wow.

In some ways, I can’t believe it’s almost July.  In others…well, it seems like it’s been a year since January.  Same old, same old.  Time is inconsistent.

I received an email from Arnebya this week, one of those simple, “thinking of you” messages that mean so much.  Her thoughts were a beautiful reminder: my blog readership may be small, but it is beloved.

The boys are in the other room, delaying breakfast.  They get up before 7:00, but the TV can be on only from 7-9am.  They still stick by this rule, never thinking I might change it.  Of course, I won’t.  I understand as well as anyone the dangers of being sucked into the boob tube, a whole day gone before you know it.  Now, they must have breakfast, unload the dishwasher.  Perhaps even get dressed before practicing piano and trumpet and drums.  I stepped away just now to yell up the stairs, “Don’t forget to take your vitamins!”  It’s a strange thing, having mostly self-sufficient-aged kids.  They can do these things for themselves, if they remember or care to.

Yesterday, I stepped outside my comfort zone.

That is inaccurate.  Yesterday, I jumped a mile away from my comfort zone.

I had fully planned to give Nicky a little more neighborhood freedom this summer.  He’s made friends (woo hoo!) with a boy who lives close enough for me to be okay with him walking over there.  I’d thought to myself, “This summer, those two can walk to the coffee shop, to the grocery store, etc.  Gain a little freedom and responsibility.”  Said boy?  Moving this weekend.  Sigh.

So, yesterday.  Nicky had gotten new wires in his braces (yes, that has begun – braces off for Kalen, braces on for Nicky), and I, in my infinite wisdom, had forgotten to stock the fridge with soft foods.  Ouch.

So, I gave the boys $20, equipped them with string backpacks, and sent them to the grocery store.  The thirteen-year-old and the ten-year-old-as-of-next-week, alone together.  (Oxymoron alert!)  Against their father’s better judgment, and with my heart in my throat.

I understand, this is not a big deal for many parents.  Depending on the neighborhood and your relative comfort with your child’s sense of self-preservation, she may have walked to the grocery store by herself at age 8.  Or he never will before age 15.  But for me?  Big deal, indeed.  The store is a mile away, and a brief portion of our busy road is sans sidewalk.  And we have an older child “in charge” who is not always fully aware of the world around him.

“Text me when you get there.  Text me when you’re leaving.  Oh, and why don’t you text me a picture of the two of you on the way, so we have record of this momentous occasion?”

Lomogram_2013-06-27_09-21-55-AMStill alive!!

All was well, of course.  They even enlisted the help of a super-nice checkout lady (Thank you, Jo!) to make sure they weren’t over budget before running back for an extra box of mac & cheese.

Nicky just poked his head in, asking if they could have eggs for breakfast.  My response, “If you cook them,” was sort of well-received.  Outside my comfort zone.  Again.  “Don’t forget to spray the pan!”  “I won’t!”

He’s old enough to do these things, and I’m finding he’s ready in most ways.  It’s that “most” that scares me.  That little disconnect; the one forgotten thing can make all the difference.

But he’s only two years away from a learners permit.  Five years away from graduation and adulthood.  It’s time.  For his sake, and ours, and that of every person who will be on the roadways after March, 2015.

Oh dear.  He didn’t spray the pan.  “It’s a learning experience.  Remember your vitamins!”

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One Response to Letting Go

  1. Arnebya says:

    Oh, how I nodded throughout this. A couple of weekends ago, we were walking back from the library (a little over a mile from home). The boy was slow moving because Look! Another ant! I waved the girls on ahead (12 and under a month shy of 10) and when I looked up again they were three blocks away. My heart skipped a beat, I started to yell. And then, I took a breath and smiled. This is what I’ve been looking forward to. This freedom of enjoying their neighborhood, of feeling trusted and sure of themselves. OK yes, the thought that I was too far away to do anything helpful if something happened did occur to me, but I didn’t let that line of thinking take hold. I let the realization that I am raising smart, capable girls (who do still sometimes act as though there IS no world around them) sink in and carry me home, many blocks behind them. I am glad you stepped out of your comfort zone. I feel myself moving more toward it with the food preparation. Slowly. Because I know they can. I just have to let them (or, in some instances, perhaps, look at them like if you’re hungry, you’ll find a way. Spray the pan first.)
    Arnebya blogged this: Just Write: All The Thoughts In No Particular OrderMy Profile

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