Once a week, I like to walk my middle kids (C and N) into school. Of course, C is too old to have his mom actually walk him to class, but N enjoys when I escort him to class and help him settle in. K loves when I let her come along, even though she hides shyly behind me the whole time. Sometimes I think she is practicing to be my shadow.
K's favorite part of these mornings is when we leave, because there are about 8 steps to go down to get to the parking lot. She and I hold hands while we hop down each step. About 2 months ago, she told me she was big enough to hop without my hand. Being the overprotective mama that I am, I asked her if she could hold my hand because I was scared of falling. My sweet (and clever) little girl reached over, grabbed my hand, and planted a big kiss on it. "There Mama, now you don't have to be scared." I paused for a split second, weighing my options. Do I let her jump by herself? What if she falls, I won't be able to catch her? I'm the Mama, I can always tell her she has to hold my hand. Then I thought of my dear cousin Eva, and the pictures I've seen of her little girls doing the splits on a fence, sitting on tree limbs, and climbing doorways. And I thought of my New Year's resolution, to be more like Eva.
And so I "let go" and let my daughter jump while I jumped down the steps beside her. In this small gesture, I taught my daughter that not only is she big enough to try things on her own, but I trust her to know when she is ready. I know I can't always keep her safe, but I hope to always give her the confidence to take the next jump as she grows. (And if I'm lucky, she will let her Mama be by her side when she decides to take the next jump.)