family anecdotes Random thoughts

Children’s milestones – are parent’s milestones too

7956690692_473e2da3c3_zI’ve been thinking about milestones a bit recently, probably since reading Mary Kole, in WRITING IRRESISTIBLE LIDLIT, who broached the idea that for children and young adults, milestones occur in quick succession, whereas once we are adults, the milestones are further spread apart: one of the reasons why experiences as children and teenagers seem so intense.

Last Friday was a milestone for me.

My children travelled home from school – without me.

Not a huge ‘milestone’, as milestones go, but a significant one for us; possibly more, for me.

Since day 1 of our eldest going to Pre-Prep, several years ago now, my three cherubs have always been dropped off to school, and collected again that afternoon, either by me, or by Hubby. Apart from school excursions, they’ve never travelled by bus, or train. It’s always been one or another or their parents.

So to be driven home by my best friend was a huge change-from-routine for them. And, as momentous as it was (and really fairly scary for Miss11 and Mr6, although Miss8 had been looking forward to it all week) it was more momentous for me.

For me, it was the realisation that no longer does it NEED to be me who must be there for them. It can be anyone who drives.

I worried the whole week prior. I hoped that Mr6 would handle it (he’s autistic, so any change from routine needs to be very carefully managed in advance) – hopefully without the meltdowns that would have occurred just a year or so ago. Miss 11, who also resists change – in any disguise I try to hide it in – would also cope, I thought. And Miss 8 will also relish the opportunity.

It was just me. How well would *I* cope, realising finally that this was just one more thing that they didn’t need me for? How well would I handle the knowledge that my children, too, would now be cognizant of this fact? Not only was it a ‘this is the first time that they’re coming home without a parent” day, but it was also ‘this was the first time that they’ll be aware that there’s an alternative.’

Well, I stewed all day Friday. It was bizarre… after feeling ‘tied down’ by what I felt was a burden of responsibility, to have it taken away was not as liberating as I had hoped; and more emotional than I had bargained for. I’m glad it was my immensely patient and understanding best friend who helped me through the experience. Praise God for the incredible people He puts in our lives, hey?!

And, my children coped. And so did I. I handled it, knowing they now knew that there was one less thing in the world that I was ‘needed’ for. One less responsibility… and one less reason that my children needed me.

Another milestone. As Mary Kole posited, they come less regularly now. Nonetheless, they’re still momentous when they come. And unsettling to realise that this situation has been possible since Mr6 moved out of his car seat – a year or so ago. Is that was this milestone was for me as a parent? A realisation of a fact that has been in existence for a while? I wonder.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you this morning.

Have a great week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy Tim Green