Today, we took my daughter to the park. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and as it is Springtime in Western Washington, though we are getting good weather this week, next week might be awful. So we’re cramming as many outdoorsy and fun-in-the-sun activities in this week as we are able.
The playground is intimidating to me. So many children, most of them bigger than my child, running around, bumping into each other, throwing things, barely skirting around my baby girl as they run around playing pirates or cops and robbers or whatever it is they are imagining themselves to be. My instinct is to stay within arms reach, to block kids from knocking into B, to swoop in and pick her up if there’s a crowd.
Today, I forced myself to stand back. I was still up on the play structure with her to offer a lending hand if she asked for it. I was still close enough to prevent her from stepping off of the edge of the structure when there was a huge drop. But I forced myself to stand back as kids ran by her, to stand back and watch as she was buffeted about a bit by a crowd of kids swarming to the slide.
I stood back as she stood her ground and didn’t let them knock her down.
I stood back as she tried to climb a tall (for her) step, and immediately held her hand out to me for help.
I stood back and said “You can do it, B!”
I stood back as she struggled and puzzled and tried and tried again.
I stood back and I cheered when she figured out how to leverage herself up, and shot me the biggest I-am-so-proud-of-myself grin.
I stood back as she ran across the bouncy bridge and squealed and laughed.
I stood back as she decided to go down the slide without any prompting, and clapped when my husband caught her at the bottom and she grinned at us both.
I stood back and let her explore and run and fall, and I was there when she needed me, or wanted to show me something.
I stood back and saw that she thought of this outing to the park as a great adventure, saw the spark of independence, saw my little girl where I used to see my baby.
I stood back today. And I liked what I saw.
Mama is Learning to Let Go