Tuesday, April 15, 2014

as we go

The kids are back in school after their year-end break: Isla in a new class at kindergarten, and Auden, suddenly, impossibly, a First Grader. He barely made the cut-off date, starting just days after his 6th birthday. 

Now he walks to and from school with a group of other kids in the neighborhood. Even though we've been inching toward this kind of independence -- by sending him to the corner store for tea and snacks, and by not having heart attacks when he walks to the park by himself -- I am still finding it almost preposterous that we have reached this stage. I'm guessing the stomach roiling subsides after a while?

Isla likes to run around outside too, and hide in the narrow spaces between houses, in doorways, in the maze of narrow streets around our house. When I find her, she squeals with laughter, looking mischievous and triumphant. 

This is probably the safest place we could possible live, but I still have to fight a rising panic when I'm not entirely sure where they are. 

The other day they packed their carry-on suitcases full of toys and wheeled them out to the street, stopping at one friend's house, and then another, which I didn't discover until after I had gone full bore, riding my bicycle through the neighborhood, calling their names.

What kind of double-edged sword is this, anyway? The minute they stop needing me at their side every minute, I become freakishly masterful at conjuring catastrophic What-Ifs. 

Here they are, discussing their plans to travel to Bulgaria.

I want them to have this freedom, I want them to discover things on their own... Especially here, where they own what they find in a different way: words, connections, patterned pottery shards embedded in the concrete on the road to the park.

I suspect there's no other way to offer this except to practice as we go. So if you want me, kids, I'll be in the kitchen not having heart attacks.


1 comment:

Amanda said...

You nail it here. How is it that we work toward independence and then as we reach it we question if they're ready?

For the record, I don't think the stomach roiling ever really ends.