Thursday, August 19, 2010

The world beyond awaits

Not to long ago we were out and about when Abby came up to me and asked: "What's this?" My heart nearly leap out of my chest when I realized that she was holding a peanut M&M. I took it away from her and gently explained it was something that would make her very, very sick. Then yesterday I was getting ready to go outside to do yard work; when I came into the kitchen to see if Abby had her shoes on, too, I was surprised to see she wasn't there. Through the window in the back door I saw a small head of brown hair bobbing in and out of sight. I ran, flung the door open, scooped up my daughter and then tried to calmly explain why going outside without Mommy is such a bad idea.

It has been a long week for me, full of reminders that everyday my daughter is pushing her orbit out a little further away from me and everyday the world is getting a little closer to her. And this is a world full of dangerous, terrifying things. Because how do you explain to a 3 year old that something as tiny as a candy covered peanut is waiting to kill her? That there are bad things, bad people, waiting outside to hurt her? How do you begin the lesson that there isn't a Fairy Godmother waiting to make sure the end comes out right; that sometimes Prince Charming shows up, but he never finds the glass slipper or, worse yet, he picks the evil step sister instead. How do you prepare her for a lifetime of unknowns, of scary, of broken hearts and sometimes hurt?

As a mother how do you raise them to let them go? Because I know that is what we are meant to do: raise competent adults from the children we have been blessed with. My own mother stood aside and let me grow into a woman, and then later into a wife and mother. But Mom? How did you manage to breathe while you did it? Because I've been holding my breath since Abby found a peanut M&M and the world and all it's tiny horrors opened before me. And I am terrified to take the next breath, and the next, and the all the ones after that.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, you raise your children to be independent adults; even if that's choosing to serve their country and go to war while not even 18 or 19. You hold your breath through each crisis then relax your breathing till next time. Time and time again. They never get too old or too far away not to share the good news or bad.