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.