I had to share this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Behind the White Coat, because it so perfectly mirrored my own thoughts as I watched my daughter plunge ahead of me on the sidewalk yesterday. She doesn’t want to hold my hand any more, but wants to forge her own way through the world, armed with her knowledge to stop at driveways and look for cars, and to always, always stop at the street and wait for me or her daddy to hold hands.
I want to hold her hand forever. I want to feel her little hand, so warm and soft in my own, with the knowledge that if her hand is in mine, I can keep her safe.
But little girls get bigger, and little girls want to learn how to stand on their own two feet, and to see their moms looking back at them with a smile, not a constant look of terror.
Because when she runs ahead, with a carefree bounce in step, I am constantly imagining a car coming from nowhere, jumping the curb and taking her from me. I’m imagine her bobbing hair, her head turning and those innocent happy eyes looking into mine as she’s ripped from my world. I imagine her broken, dying, in my arms, and all the terrible things that could happen in that moment when’s she just out of my reach, and I’m plunged into a dark place. I want to run to her, pick her up, caution her that the world is a scary place, and she must always be careful of all the terrible things that could happen in that moment when she turns her head to beam at her mommy. But then I think, if she’s obeying the rules, if she’s close to me, why should I put my own fear of all the things that COULD happen into her?
I see her joy and it lifts my spirits, but my fear of letting go of that little precious hand and letting her discover the world on her own, with her own two hands, not just one – that terrifies me.
I let go, I smile and laugh and enjoy her exploration of the world around her, point at the things we’re learning at together, but each time I feel like I’m holding my breath, waiting for the moment when she comes back to me. When her hand is in mine, or I’m carrying her, her head resting on my shoulder.