One of the hardest parts of being a parent is letting your kids make mistakes so they can figure out how to fix them. Tied to this is the need to let them do things on their own.
Today I kissed my son, gave him a hug, and watched him walk through airport security with his black and white stuffed bunny and his Nana, on his way to visit his maternal grandparents.
I am very excited for him. We all talked about what to expect, and he’s very excited too, as well as being very confident about the experience. There’s a streak of nervousness throughout his excitement, though, that worries me a bit. I won’t be there to hold his hand when the noise and pressure and the new experience get a bit too much. I won’t be the one reading to him and cuddling him in bed tonight. This is the kid who sometimes calls us to come get him from birthday parties because he misses us (that’s kid code for “I’m not feeling comfortable and I want my familiar surroundings back, and that includes people”) so I may be more nervous about him feeling homesick than taking his first plane ride. Not being able to take away a child’s heart-hurt like that is what can drive a parent round the bend.
I told him to call me when he got to Nana and Granddad’s house to tell me all about it. “I’ll try!” he chirped. And from where Owlet and I positioned ourselves, we could see him and Nana put their coats and bags in the bins to go through the security x-ray, and we saw him go through the sensor, and then Nana (who got the extra wand search because her hip replacement always sets it off)… and then they were out of my sight. Owlet and I wandered the airport for a bit (hello bookstore! why do you not have any books I want?) before driving home, just in case there was a problem and I needed to take them back home, but my cellphone was silent.
I know he’s having a blast. They should be landing any minute now, and Granddad will be there to meet them at the other end. I’m so proud of my boy. I miss him already, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again tomorrow afternoon, getting a huge hug, and hearing all about his experience in person.
And somehow, I also feel the way I did on his first day of kindergarten, when he climbed onto the school bus for the first time and rode away, waving at me with a big smile. He’s growing up. And he’s not the only one. Apparently one continues to level up as a parent, too, every time you let your children grow up a bit more.