This is not my normal "ha ha funny, the kids are driving me nuts and I need wine" post. It is just me...rambling and worrying because my kids are getting older.
I have a 3rd grader this year. She will be nine in less than a month. She will be in 4th grade next year. That is just older...older than preschool, or kindergarten, or 1st grade. Just older.
She is going to her first sleepover at her friend's house. Like tonight. She is going to said sleepover and also to an indoor water park over an hour away. WITHOUT ME. She wants to go do many things without me. The time has come when I felt I had to say "yes". I have to let her go. I can't be the crazy mom that never lets her kid go anywhere without her. I want her to be independent. I truly want that for all of my girls. Because I can't and won't always be there.
And that scares the crap of me.
When I am not with her, will she make the right choices?
Will she know how to stay safe at all times...without being an anxious kid always worrying about being safe at all times?
How will she walk that fine line? How will I walk it with her...without trying to carry her too much along the way?
How will she know when to take risks...without being reckless?
How will she know how to push herself...without pushing too hard?
How will I let her go...without driving myself crazy with constant worst case scenarios running through my mind?
I don't know the answers to any of this. I'm not prepared for ANY of this. I always knew my kids would grow up; part of me is ready and the other part won't let go. I don't even know why I am thinking about it. But I am...and I do, more and more these days. And don't try to tell me just wait until she is a teenager. I ALREADY KNOW that I will be sick with worry. I already know.
What I also know is that my oldest daughter is just that...the oldest. She is the one I have to worry about first. She is the one that will teach me to let go (even if just a little). And if I'm being honest, she is often the one that I am hardest on. I am sure she has more anxiety than my other two daughters as well, and I will admit that I am partly to blame. Okay, maybe I am fully to blame.
But I do my best. I worry. I try to teach her right from wrong. I try to encourage her, support her, and not yell too much about her messy room. Well, that last one I'm still working on...
All I can hope for is that when the time comes, I have done enough. And hopefully when I'm not with her, I'm still with her.