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Mother's day heartbreak
May 9, 2011 - Kylie Saari
For years I have spent quite a lot of energy trying to inspire independence in my kids. My kids weren't born brave or adventurous, and it seems if I want them to ever live on their own, I had to take action.
The day before mother's day was not different, and while I was in charge of a garage sale a group of my 8-year-old son's friends came by. They were out on the town scoping out sales by themselves, and I could tell my son wanted to join them. I told him to go ahead, he could go with them.
I never expected him to take me up on it. The first sale he went to was across the street. No biggie, I could see him, and was proud he went. Then the went around the corner to another one. Then they continued down the street. Now I started to get a little nervous.
At the same time, my husband decided to walk home from our sale site, and took my 6-year-old daughter with him. He was going to stay home and get some chores done. She wanted to come back. I told her, sure, you can walk back by yourself. Again, I never expected her to take me up on it. I have been talking this way to both kids for years, and they never wanted to try to do anything without me.
She said she would, and we decided to have her dad call me when she left so I could watch for her.
He called. I couldn't believe it. She was actually walking the curved and street crossing way to where I was. I waited for my husband to call and tell me she came back. I paced in front of the sale watching for my son to return.
My sister told me to chill out. This is what I wanted them to do, and they would be fine. It didn't help. My little ones were out there, doing things without me. All the years of preparation, teaching them to cross roads safety, not to get into a stranger's car — were they listening? Did they understand? Today was the day I would find out.
Soon, my son was spotted on the horizon, with his friends, unscathed. They came back, everything was fine.
Now I waited for my daughter. I knew the route she would take, and I watched for her trying to seem like I wasn't. I wanted her to feel I was confident in her ability.
As I waited, bounding over the crest of the hill, came a little pink bundle skipping along, happy as can be.
I can't say I wanted them to fail in their attempts to branch out, but the ease of their breaking free that day made me feel strange.
My heart was both broken and inflated with pride. That, it seems, is what mothering is all about.
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