Last night was one of those times when I had to soak it all in again. To remember how far Cason and I have come. To look at her baby book and remember when we first met. To look at her precious sleeping face at 6 ½ years old and wonder at the mysteries and beauty of life -- to behold the miracle of love.
This past weekend was her first weekend away. I tried desperately not to be too over protective and blow this milestone out of proportion. I doubt I succeeded. I was the only parent neurotic enough to install her kids’ booster seat in the 15-passenger van. Having not sent her off to kindergarten before, this was a huge step, albeit one of many, toward independence.
As I helped her pack earlier in the day, I felt panicky. Shouldn’t we be having some big talk? Aren’t there some brilliant words of parental wisdom I should be sharing at this moment? Does she really know how important it is to brush her teeth EVERY night?
But then I realized, words wouldn’t really do the trick. Words are what I’ve been throwing at her constantly since the day she was born. I began to realize how much I had relied on words in the last 6 ½ years and how ineffective they really are. I began to wonder what on earth my actions may have unwittingly communicated. I think we always hope as parents that they’ll do as we say, not as we do, and yet we all know that actions speak louder than words. That realization left me in a very uncomfortable place this weekend as I sent her off on her own.
I had all weekend to ponder one tough question:
At home, when no one else is around, am I being the person I want her to become?
Despite my nightmare Friday night that she didn't get breakfast and was too shy to speak up about it, it seems as though she had all her meals and even tried some new food. She went canoeing (one of my personal favorites) and joined the big kids in a game of soccer when her activity finished early. I don't know if she kept her things nice and tidy, but I'm pretty sure she took at least one shower. One thing I know for sure is she was brave when she missed us, she embraced the moment and had one of the best times of her young life. This weekend helped me to see that we are well on our way. She is as amazing as I think, and despite the tough question I asked myself, I'm pretty sure it's in spite of who I sometimes am.