This past week my daughter spent 8 hours with her maternal grandmother on one of their weekly “dates”. Mum picks her up around the time Son goes to preschool, and they spend the afternoon together. Often, like last time, Daughter wants to stay for dinner. They go for walks, stroll through the seaside market, and generally hang out and have fun together.
Yesterday she opted to spend 4 hours with her paternal grandmother. They went to the playground, twice, and out for a hot chocolate and donut. When I picked her up she was playing happily. My mother-in-law commented, almost in surprise, “she was no trouble at all”.
I love that she gets this special time with her Grandmothers. I also love to think about how far she has come. I remember when my Mother would wonder if she would ever get time alone with her granddaughter. She worried that attachment parenting would create dependence, instead of fostering independence. I remember my mother-in-law sighing that, if Daughter was not ready to spend the night with her at age 4, “she never will”.
Thankfully, I had already come to understand early on that Independence cannot be taught or forced. It is innate to all children, and must be allowed to grow and blossom on its own time. Watching the process unfolding in my daughter is a wonderful experience.
This time we have with our young children is so brief, so fleeting. I wish more mothers could just Trust in their innate ability to Mother, and in children’s innate ability to mature and grow on their own inner schedule. I wonder how many parents worry their way through the years, only to wake up one day and realize their kids have grown up. Thanks to my daughter I am learning to slow down and enjoy the journey, to let go of worries and doubts, and to just enjoy my children for who they are.