As my kids get older there is a part of being a dad that doesn’t want to let go of their constant needing of help. As a baby they need you to do basically everything. Then slowly as they get older they learn how to do it on their own. Which can be a good thing in some weird ways. For example, I am not a big fan of changing diapers. I’ve had my fair share of experience, so I will not miss that. What I will miss is helping them climb ladders, pushing on swings, catching them at the bottom of a slide and much more.
My daughter Abby lets me know that she can already conquer most of the playground by herself and doesn’t need her dad’s assistance. Alex thinks he has it covered as well but there is no way he is going at it alone without sustaining an injury. He is still too little for making his own adventures. So dad (or mom) is right there helping him figure it out. Soon enough they both will be riding bikes with friends which will eventually result in driving, and then leaving home.
It’s a little scary knowing that I am responsible for letting these two humans out into this world prepared for life. Will they be ready? Will the lessons that I am providing for them today be relevant to them in the future? I really have no idea, but I find a little solace knowing that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Practically every parent with at least one kid has got to feel at some point in life they do not know if what they are doing is the right way to do it. But as parents we make it, and our kids seem to turn out all right.
Independence doesn’t necessarily mean that I am looking to start free-range parenting. I don’t like that label. I don’t want my kids to run around the neighborhood at ages young enough to still need help cutting up their food. I don’t want to say that I am a helicopter parent either, but I want them to learn that they can do somethings on their own without dad or mom’s help. I think there is a balance that needs to be made. So I look at the best of all of the options available to me and I make the best decisions that will impact my children in a positive way. I am looking to build strong character in these two goof balls. I expect them to show respect, have manners, and intelligence. I know that I can’t do everything for them, but I will try, and I will learn to let go a little more each time.
I also know that if my kids are anything like me with my parents. They will always need some help. After they learn to ride a bike, after they start to drive, and even after they leave home. So maybe it’s not letting go, just making a little slack.