I fall into the parenting group that wants to do everything for my kids, the longer I do that for the longer they will need me, right?
Having just come back from our family camping holiday and with our eldest daughters imminent 10th birthday I’m realising that I need to let go of them…just a little. And I realise that I probably should have stepped back before she hit double figures but she’s my biggest baby!
I know there are many things she does still need me for but she’s growing up, as are her younger siblings, and I need to take a step back and let them figure things out for themselves. Once in a while at least!
But it’s so hard, watching them struggle at things and not stepping in and taking over, and it’s hard to see them hurt by life especially when we could easily have stepped in and prevented it, but life isn’t always the smooth journey we would want it to be and the lessons our children learn in the ‘safety’ of childhood give them skills and knowledge to draw upon in their teen and adult years (that’s the hope anyway).
It kind of makes me wonder how God does it, how does he step back and give us the space to make mistakes especially when we repeatedly do not learn from them? As a parent it drives me crazy when my kids do the same silly thing over and over and over and over… But thankfully God isn’t quite like me, he gently encourages us to have another go or to look at it from a different angle. That is true love for your child, giving them guidance when required, encouragement and showing patience when they fail but also giving space to work things through.
Yet I’ve realised something, I need and want to be needed by my kids, I want them to still hold my hand and come to me for comfort, I want them to snuggle up beside me, and so I regularly do rush in and do things for them, probably more because it fulfills a need in me more than or actually helps them. So it is deeply hard for me to take that step back and not rush in and point out all the things they could have done better or differently or more the way I would have done them! I am squishing their independence and creativity.
But when I do step back I see them flourish, I see the different talents and passions that they each have, I see what brings them joy and what their hearts break for. I do not want my children to stay as children and not be able to think and make decisions for themselves, I do not want to raise mini versions of my self and Carl, I want to raise passionate, creative, funny adults who choose to spend time with me still because we have built a relationship with foundations from childhood.
As long as they still give me the occasional hug!