I talk a big talk. I want my children to be independent. I want to be able to let them go. My goal is to raise Strong, Independent Christian Adults. But sometimes I think I am all talk. I don't do as much as I should to "let them go."
My kids have been daycare kids since they were 3 months old. I'm not getting into the daycare / stay at home mom / sitter debate right now. But one of the advantages I have seen is that my kids are independent. They have always had a life outside of me. On the flipside, because I am working, I want to spend every second I can with them outside of work. We rarely use sitters. I have never left them overnight with someone. The only nights I have spent without Laci are the two nights I was in the hospital after Calvin was born and two nights she and Charlie went to his parents house. His parents usually spend about a week a year at his brothers to watch our nephews while my BIL and SIL go on vacation. They love getting that week with the boys. Sometimes I feel guilty that I haven't left my kids with them for a week. But selfishly, I don't want to be without my kids for a week.
This Christmas break, Laci asked if she could go to her cousins house for a couple of days instead of the YMCA. I talked to my sister and she agreed that it would be okay. Laci hasn't had any sleepovers with friends so I thought this would be a good trial run. She adores her big cousins. We met them halfway yesterday to drop her off. She was so excited that morning but ever so often on the drive up, she would say "I'm a little nervous." Fortunately, my sister has dealt with other little girls on their first sleepovers so I knew she would know how to handle it.
We told Calvin we were going to see cousins and he insisted on packing too once he saw Laci's suitcase and pillow. So we packed his empty suitcase and pillow too. He was exhausted yesterday after staying up late on New Years so he slept the entire drive up, the entire drive down and through a few errands. When we got home, he was devastated that he didn't get to see any cousins and kept crying "I don't want to go home... I don't want to go home." Then he stood out in the garage at the door of the crying "I don't want to go home." I left the door to the house open for him. A few minutes later, he had gotten into the car and was pretending to drive. I went back to check on him a few minutes after that and he had accidentally locked the doors and was standing by his door trying to figure out how to get out. I rescued him. It was pretty funny when Charlie asked him about Laci and he had a look of surprise when he looked at her seat and she was gone. He hasn't mentioned her since.
That night as we were working on the puzzle, I worried about Laci. Worried isn't the right word. I knew she was fine and I knew my sister was taking great care of her. But I wanted to be with Laci. I want to experience everything new with her. I love seeing her face and just being with her. I missed her. This is how I feel whenever she does something new with someone else - like field trips or outings with grandparents and friends. I hate missing these moments. But I have to remember the goal - raising strong, independent Christian adults and that includes knowing when to let go. Even if it is just starting with two days.