Scott wrote in our most recent blog post about the moments he chooses to do things he doesn’t want to do, because it matters as a parent. My “I don’t want to do that!” moments most often involve letting our daughter do something that scares me.
Does anyone else’s stomach drop a little at those “letting go” points of parenthood? I will never forget that sensation in my belly when I, quite literally, let go for the first time when teaching my daughter how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. But it had to be done. I had to weather the fear and discomfort as my fingers uncurled away from the bike seat, so that she could grow as a person. Not only that, but letting go allowed me to experience sheer joy at seeing her proudly pedal off in triumph.
Whether from a first sleepover or a rock-hopping adventure through a rushing river, I’ve gotten that pit-in-the-stomach feeling fairly often since my daughter was born. I’m grateful my husband has a more adventurous spirit than I (even though it is aging me), because I know it allows our daughter to experience things she probably wouldn’t otherwise. (I walked away in tears on a hike one time, because I couldn’t watch my husband and daughter peeking over a waterfall. Mind you, they were SEVERAL FEET away from the edge and on a flat, dry surface. In other words, NOT a dangerous moment.)
When parents let go, our kids benefit. They gain confidence. They learn new things. They become more comfortable in their own skin. They get to experience a lot of firsts in the relative safety of their parents’ presence, instead of later when we aren’t there to guide them. You know the best part, though? They have FUN!
I have to get comfortable with my discomfort, so that my daughter gets to experience life at its fullest. I have to conquer my fears, so she can learn to conquer hers. A rapid heartbeat, butterflies in the stomach, and sweating palms are a small price to pay for a mom trying her best to raise a kid who is getting to grow in confidence and have the time of her life.