Friday, July 19, 2013

Letting go

“You know Mummy…there are times where I won’t be sleeping at home.” My 7 year old announced on Sunday. “I can’t be home ALL the time.”

She was referring to her planned sleepover at my in-laws that night. And her biggest concern was that I made sure to PVR any So You Think You Can Dance episode that would air “the nights I’m away.”

And once the words were out of her mouth she had pretty much already forgotten them. But they hit me like a ton of bricks. It was one of those mommy moments that catch you off guard and knock you off your comfort zone axis.

My baby – my first born – was growing up. I mean I knew that already – her too short pants were all the evidence I needed but this was an emotional growth moment and it made me sad and proud all at the same time.

Later that day she upped the emotional ante when asked if she could spend the entire week at Mana’s house. She wanted to sleep every night there and not come home until the weekend. 

My first reaction was relief since my mother in law was looking after her for the week and that meant I wouldn’t have to drive her all the way across town every morning.  But then that Mama Bear side of me kicked in.  Was I ready to let her go for a whole week?

Don’t get me wrong my kids have sleepovers all the time.  We might actually be the luckiest couple I know when it comes to the amount of help we get from family in that department. So the girls are perfectly fine to be apart from us for a few nights.  And on those nights we usually have big plans or are away somewhere ourselves which makes the separation less pronounced.

This was different.  We would be home and she wouldn’t be there.  We would eat dinner and she wouldn’t be there taking an hour to finish one baby carrot. I would tuck littlest in and not her. I wouldn’t get my usual hug and kiss goodnight. It was more than a little discomforting.

But I knew of course we had to let her go – to applaud her choice and encourage her independence.  And we did just that.

And Monday morning came and all was good. Monday night I had dinner plans with friends and hubby took our youngest to my mum’s. When I got there to meet them it was almost 9pm and he was on the phone saying “well if you want to come home you can…”

I smiled to myself just a little before giving into the frustration about having to go and pick her up this late at night - with little one in tow - and bring her home.  When I got there she told me she got scared sleeping all by herself and knowing she didn’t have daddy and I right there with her.

We talked through her feelings and I told her that sometimes when we are feeling scared we need to take a moment and remind ourselves that there really isn’t anything to be scared about. I told her that is something she will need to learn to do as she gets older. I felt like it was a really good talk and that we had both learned something.

She decided 2 nights later that she wanted to try sleeping over again.  That this time she wouldn’t be scared.  That she was ready.

And she was. There were no issues for the next two nights for her. But I missed her terribly.  And so did her little sister.

This was her state at breakfast this morning:

It took me several attempts to get it out of her...but she finally fessed up to missing her big sister.  "I want her to come home now." Needless to say we will all be happy to back as a family unit tonight.   

Knowing that the next time she feels the need to “leave the house” it will be a little bit easier to let go.

well let's not get crazy here...


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