Friday, March 7, 2014

Giving Them Freedom

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My kids are growing up.
It's a fact I have to face... even though I don't always want to. But I must. I can't stop them from growing up. Just yesterday I realized that Liza's pants were short... again. This growing up stuff isn't going to stop.

And as they grow up I have to adjust their freedoms. Allow them more space. Teach them to be trustworthy.

A year and a half ago when we moved to this house I had a really hard time letting the kids play outside without me constantly watching them. We moved from a wooded hillside with very little traffic to a downtown neighborhood on a highly trafficked road. From our front door to the road is maybe ten to twelve feet.

But I knew I had to get to a place where I could let them play outside without having to sit there and watch them. I spent my time teaching them boundaries and watching them follow them. They were gaining my trust. Then I would tell them they could go outside knowing that I would be heading out there with them as soon as I finished the dishes. It was baby steps for ME. Eventually I would sit on the couch with the window open so that I could still hear them or just turn around and peek real quick... every two minutes of course.

It's hard letting my babies grow up.
It's hard to realize that they don't always need me as much as they used to.
It's hard to not let my own worries hinder them.

By the end of the summer they would play outside on our ten yards of sidewalk for HOURS.

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Today, I find myself working on a whole new set of wider boundaries... and it is not easy.

They have a neighbor friend that lives about four houses down but you have to cross an alley to get there. Liza and Jason wanted to go knock on his door to see if he wanted to play. I gave them instructions about crossing the road and then stood on my porch and watched them. When their friend came out I went inside. They have been over there... doing the same things that they would do in front of our own house... for well over an hour.

I sit here trying to suppress my worry. I keep telling myself I don't have to stick my head out the door every three minutes. Because let's be honest... there is another adult at the house in which they are playing in front of. Another adult who I know and trust.

I have to give my babies freedom and I have to give up my worries.

This is our neighborhood.
There will always be traffic.
There will always be people walking by.
There will always be kids wanting to play.

And so I work on broadening the boundaries... because it won't be long before they are playing at a friend's house around the corner where I can't just stick my  head out and see them.

Liza and Jason have always behaved in a trustworthy way when they are outside... I need to trust them.

For now though... I'm going to do something for the first time and that is stand on my porch and holler down the road for my kids to come home for dinner!


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