Apr 2, 2009

Learning To Let Go

Musings of A Beautiful Mess



This is going to be a VERY emotional post about my almost 12 year old daughter growing up. If you're having any type of rough day, you might want to click away.







It all started almost 12 years ago...God TWELVE YEARS?! So crazy! I've always been so happy as her mother. She's a great child. She was a bit of a pain in The Belly, and always wanted to be held when she was born, but really? If those are my "complaints" then I'm a very happy woman.

She went to work with me when she was 2 1/2, we were rarely separated. Husband and I decided when we were pregnant with her, that we didn't want to raise our child with various babysitters and family members watching her. We watched my sister hand her son off to us, my parents and anyone else who would watch him so she could go party. We wanted to be responsible parents. And we succeeded! She didn't stay the night at any one's house including my parents, until she was about a year old. When she did stay the night, we called every hour to see how she was. We picked her up very early the next day. If she had a "play date', I went along. Yes, I am a very over-protective parent thank you very much.

When she started school, it was bittersweet for us. We were excited to have some "couple" time, but MAN, was I going to miss my little girl. Off she went to school and meet a bunch of new friends. We did homework and she was fine, of course. Then off to first grade, second, third, fourth, fifth, and now SIXTH grade. She had a few bumps along the way, but she's always been a great student and a great daughter. We've never really had any emotional moments with her. There's been some, but on the whole, we've been very lucky to have a wonderful daughter.

Now she's in sixth grade and OH! MY! GOD! Do I want time to STOP! She came to me a few weeks ago and said a boy "asked her out". Yeah I am unsure what the details are to that when one is in sixth grade. I knew what it meant when I was in sixth grade, but that was a LONG time ago. So is it different now? What does this boy expect? What does Nae expect? I really wanted to run away with her and tell her boys are horrible creatures, but I didn't. I asked her what it meant and what they did, as much as I didn't want to know the answer, I knew I had to ask. Thankfully the answer was harmless. I did tell her that if he did anything to her, I would walk into her class and have a "chat" with him in front of the whole class. I also told her to tell him this. She did and he promised to be a nice boy. Damn right, you promise to be a nice boy. Because I may be Mrs. Beautiful Mess, but my husband, her FATHER is MISTER Beautiful Mess and has no problem hurting him. Anyway....sorry I'm getting off topic here.

My realizing that it is time to learn to let go a little of my little girl. It's time to maybe leave her home alone every once in awhile. It may be time to allow her to go over to her friend's house after school instead of having them all over here where I can keep tabs on them. It may be time to show my daughter I trust her. Because I DO trust her, she has never done anything that would make me not trust her. This is all coming to a head because she has an AMAZING opportunity to go to Washington D.C. in 2010.

This is a school trip that the eighth graders get to go on every year. I don't know all the details, but what I do know is I really want her to go on this trip. It's going to cost A LOT of money, but it's SO worth it. The year and 3 months leading up to the trip has so much potential for learning. She could do work for money for our neighbors for her trip. She could do chores around the house, she can research all the great places they will be going on this trip. She can work harder in school to make sure her grades don't slip. I'm so excited for the possibility for her to go on this trip, but at the same time, I am so scared. She's going to go to THE EAST COAST! Without me! What will we do if something happens to her? What will she do if she gets homesick? Will they lose my kid? I know they're all eighth graders and therefore more responsible, but STILL! They're only EIGHTH GRADERS!!! I know we want her to go on this trip and I know it's a WONDERFUL opportunity for her, but she's my baby. I'm SO hoping that I can score a ticket to go with. I know that isn't part of letting go, but for the love of Goddess...it's hard to let go.

10 friends have commented:

Heather and Jase on April 2, 2009 at 10:05 PM said...

I hear you, hun! I think you're doing the right thing allowing her some freedom at 12. That way when she gets to 16 she won't have the massive "I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I CAN" moment.

How come we never got really cool away from home trips in school? Our biggest outings were 10 minutes away from school. Pft. Kids these days!

Heather and Jase on April 2, 2009 at 10:05 PM said...

DOH!

She's beautiful by the way. But you knew that!

Kristin on April 3, 2009 at 4:01 AM said...

Breathe honey...you have people here on the east coast. If for some reason you can't go with her, remember I am less than 5 hours from DC.

Letting them grow up is so hard.

SS on April 3, 2009 at 6:55 AM said...

First of all, totally beautiful! I am sure this boy is the first of many...

You'll be fine with her going. Independence is a good trait to foster. She sounds like such a good kid, and 13 year-olds are pretty sharp. Great of you to think of so many things to do leading up to the trip to make it more rewarding. have a great weekend!

natalie on April 3, 2009 at 8:01 AM said...

Oh, geez, mine is only in 1st grade, but I already get chills thinking about boys. I think you're handling the whole situation perfectly. She'll need a little freedom so maybe she won't feel like she has to completely rebel when she gets a little older. She also sounds like she has a great head on her shoulders...which I'm sure she got from her lovely parents :) As for the trip, I remember taking that trip in 8th grade and thinking I was so grown-up. It's interesting to hear the parent's side of it.

awa.ke in the wor.ld said...

Beautiful post.
Thank you for your supportive comment on LFCA.

Awa.ke in the wo.rld has a new blog at http://becomingwhole.wordpress.com/. Explanations and updates will be forthcoming.

Jenn on April 3, 2009 at 11:34 AM said...

Hun,

She is absolutely gorgeous, vibrant and full of life. You can see that in the pictures! Probably just like her mama!

As for "letting her go" you have taken such a huge step in just saying it out loud for the world to hear.

This trip to D.C. sounds perfect for letting her spread her wings!

Enjoy every moment of your journey!

HUGS

JamieD on April 3, 2009 at 1:14 PM said...

I can only imagine!

If she grows up to be a reflection of you, I'd say you have nothing to worry about.

Coffeegrl on April 5, 2009 at 4:50 AM said...

Peanut is only 1 and already this makes me so sad. I know she has to grow up. I WANT her to grow up. I want her to experience so much and I want her to be independent enough to do it, but that doesn't mean it won't be absolutely bittersweet now does it?? Thanks for sharing such a beautiful slice of your relationship with your daughter. Maybe if I start to mentally prepare myself now I'll be ready in 11 years??

Parenthood For Me on April 5, 2009 at 5:09 AM said...

Everyone says that before you know it your children are all grown up. I know it to be true. Finn changes everyday. I can only imagine the difficulty in "letting go" so that she explore and learn who she is.
But, it would be nice if you could go too. D.C. is awesome.

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