This morning, Aneliese played outside in our back yard by herself for the first time. She got herself into boots and snow pants, had me zip up her coat and headed out. True, She never went more than three feet from the door, I was standing on the other side of the door barely ever taking my eyes off of her, and Molly hovered like an anxious mother while occasionally looking toward the door wondering why I wasn’t out with her, but for a few minutes she was a “big girl”. I welcome these tiny steps towards independence, after all that is my role as her mama. And yet, I still find each step a challenge. How do I know when to step back and let my girls move forward? What if I allow or expect more than they are ready for? Even as I allowed Aneliese to go out this morning, I just kept thinking that now she will always want to go out and what if she thinks she can just walk out on her own. What about when those harder decisions come about allowing/encouraging independence when I realize that I should have waited? When do I say, “No, little girl, it’s not the right time yet”?
As Aneliese went out, she checked, “Mama, are you going to be right beside me?” I said, “No, but I will watch you.” That simple conversation gave me a glimpse in to the future when I won’t always be right there making sure that she is okay or doing the right thing. When I won’t be able to protect her. It is a reminder to me to use wisely this precious time that I have to prepare my girls and to equip them with what they will need to live life well.