Wide Open Spaces

Day three of kindergarten and my daughter is quickly growing up. The first day of school I walked her to class, the second day I dropped her off and a fifth grader walked her to class and today I dropped her off and she walked herself to class…with me watching her all the way to the door.

Whenever she gets to do something “on her own” or “big kid style”, she gets this funny look on her face like she is trying not to smile but just cannot stop the beam on her face. That is exactly how she looked today as she walked into school on her own; she was absolutely beaming though trying to keep a straight face. I giggled and glowed, from the car, at her self-assurance and it made me so proud and sentimental too, of course.

I know that I am too sentimental and nostalgic when it comes to my kids. I ruminate about everything in their lives but am on the path to trying to ease up on myself in this regard. Seeing my big girl walk confidently to class was just one more step in a direction away from me and while I was beaming with pride, I was aching too.

As I was driving to yoga class after school drop-off, I listened to the Dixie Chicks “Wide Open Spaces.” I used to connect with this song in college as I was making “room to make (my) own mistakes.” I’ve listened throughout the years when I felt I needed to belt out a proclamation (in my car) to the world that I needed space and understanding. As I listened to this song this morning, I heard it about my girl. I realized that I need to give my daughter room to grow and make her own mistakes, to find herself in all the awkward and uncertain ways that I did growing up.

As a mother, I want to always protect my kids, show them the right path, help them make decisions and correct any errors along the way. I have always done this for them and will continue in most circumstances except when it is obvious, as it is now with my daughter, that I need to step back. She is still very little but wants more independence and to find her own way in the world that is beginning to open up to her.

Our chant in yoga today was Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu which translates “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

I want my daughter to continue to feel happy and free as she has been in her 5 years of life. I want to stifle myself from holding her back even if my gut reaction is to run into her school, get her all set up, make sure she washes hands and that the teacher and other kids are nice to her. In reality, freedom for her will be learning to deal with these situations on her own. And happiness will come when she succeeds. Most importantly, I want her to know that when her life is not easy, I will always be here to help be her guide.

Stepping back, giving space and offering happiness and freedom to my children, myself and the world are my lessons for today.

22 thoughts on “Wide Open Spaces

  1. Those are great lessons Kerry! I get the same mixed feelings when Mr. T tells me that no, I don’t have to come in with him, or no, he can do that on his own – I love that I’m raising a kid that will be able to take care of himself; however, I also make a point to be there for him any time he needs me, so that he knows I will always be there!

    • Yes! Parenting is so bittersweet. My mom told me when i had kids the same thing her mom told her when she had kids, that our children are only on loan. Breaks my heart but it’s true, they are their own people and we just have to help them be the best people they can be.

  2. I loved this! I am by nature a Smother Mother/dreaded Helicopter Parent but I’m fighting it. Hard. Dixie Chicks “Wide Open Spaces” brings tears to my eyes now when I think about my girls driving off someday. Lord, how will I stand it?

    • I have no idea! I wonder the same thing about my babes. It really is hard to step back and not want to control our kids’ environments. I’m fighting the fight right along with you 🙂

  3. I love that song! It’s a great song and applies to many new adventures and “wide open spaces”. You’re a great mom who is striving to find the balance between sentiment and allowing her children to grow. I think you’ve found it! Good for you.
    ps – there is no such thing as too sentimental, if there is, I’m so over the top it’s sad.

    • So hard to let go but feels good during the moments that I do. I remember when she was littler feeling like “school days” were sooo far away..and then they’re here in a flash. crazy!

  4. Thanks for the follow. the way you write about your daughter is very sweet. My kids are all very young and it’s nice to read about what feelings I may feel in the future (at the moment I feel I could do with some separation from the 3 of them!).

  5. Pingback: The versatile blogger award | So many right ways

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