Around Christmas, our oldest was invited to a youth group all-nighter. When I told my hubby that she was invited AND wanted to go, his response had me laughing so hard I was crying. He said, with all seriousness, “Why does she want to be with her friends instead of us?” To which I replied, “This is why I don’t like school. They meet these kids and like them and then they leave us!”
This was our first experience with friends becoming IMPORTANT.
Tonight, it happened again. This time with the younger one.
My oldest had a concert and we were attending. The youngest saw her bff and asked me if she could sit with her. I told her she had to ask her dad. The look on my hubby’s face when she asked was priceless.
The conversation went like this:
S-“Dad, can ‘B’ and I sit together?”
Hubby-“Yeah, you guys can sit here with us if her parents say it’s ok.”
S-“Why can’t we sit by ourselves?”
Hubby-“Didn’t you see her at school today?”
S-“YES, but we didn’t get to be alone.” (At this point she shoots me this look that says, “Help me with him!”)
Hubby-(with the biggest, saddest sigh)”Fine.”
She walks (actually more like skips) away and my hubby looks at me and says, “Why aren’t we good enough?” I just simply said, “They are growing up, Daddy!”
S and her friend sat “in view” of us and every now and again she would turn around and smile.
This growing up and letting go is really hard on us parents. A friend recently described it this way.
When they are little, you are closed fisted. You want to hang on and keep them close.
As they grow, your fingers begin to open a little. You have to let them experience a little bit of life on their own.
BUT, what it FEELS like your child is pulling on those fingers to open them faster. You want them to have all the joy and fun parts of life, but you want to protect them from the pain and sorrow. It also is protecting US from the pain of missing them when we let go.
I’m not ready for the “hand to open” fully yet. I’m glad I have some time to “hold” onto them a little while longer.