My daughter is still very young in my eyes, but then again, she will always be very young to me… she is my baby. It is a universal truth that our children, regardless of age, will always be our babies… but she is growing… approaching 4 years old at lightening speed.
We officially did away with her baby bedroom set and moved in her “big girl” furniture – all beautiful and white. She had been in a toddler bed which used the same mattress she had in her crib. That first night as my husband and I stood watching her sleep in her new bed, on her new full size mattress, I felt tears welling up in my eyes.
Every day she is more fun and more interesting than the day before, but I can feel her toddler-ness slipping away as she becomes a child, a young girl. “How far can I let her venture on her own?” I’m starting to ask myself.
The other night the neighbors asked her to come over to their house to play in the backyard. I could
hear them from my desk and there were two sets of kids (the oldest 7 the youngest 3), so about 6 of them altogether.
I took a deep breath. I talked to her about not going away from the big kids, and about coming back to Mommy if she needed something. We talked about how I could hear her, and all she had to do was call for me. Then I sent her off to play….
(knowing I would take 5 steps and watch her secretly from a distance – she is only 3 after all!)
Joy spread across her face, and she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her, turned around at the half way point, and went back to her
own playset and backyard to play.
I asked her later why she decided not to play with “the kids” (this is what she calls the neighbor kids). In her quiet voice, she said, “I was just too shy.”
My heart went out to her. That’s a tough thing. But it also reminded me, that she is also responsible, in part, for deciding when she’s ready to venture out on her own. My job as her mother is to hold her in my open palms, provide encouraging words and gentle nudges, so that when she’s ready she can spread her wings.