Saturday, January 8, 2011

You gotta let them go

Over the Christmas break, a couple instances involving the kids hit me, making me step back a bit.

Example #1: It was time to make our world-famous Christmas cut-out cookies, which has been an annual tradition with me since I was me. My Mom, sister Lois and I used to make these every year. What's really cool is that I still have many of the same plastic cut-outs that we used when I was little. We have the star, the Christmas tree, the gingerbread man ("Not my gumdrop buttons!) and Santa. It's just one of the many traditions that makes Christmas special for me.

Now this day, Kate had a play date with a friend so Thomas and I were on our own to roll and cut out the dough. Kate and Mommy would return later to help eat, I mean, decorate the cookies with confectioners sugar, M&M's, and a variety of sprinkles. I let Thomas help me but usually I roll it out, as cutting the cookies is the fun part. I grabbed the roller and Thomas asked if he could do it. I said sure and let him do it alone.

You know, once I stepped back and just let him go at it, he did a great job. I offered some clues to help, added some flour to the batter and the rolling pin, just like my Mom used to do. But he did it and I felt quite proud, as did he.

Example #2: Kate, Thomas and I head to Lowe's every other weekend for the kids building project. It's great as they offer these free projects for the kids and it gets you in their store to spend cash on your own project to improve the looks of your house, should you be so inclined.

Kate tore open her package and read the instructions. She started putting pieces together and grabbed the nails. I reached over to hold the bottom piece so she could hammer in the nails. Suddenly, Kate shouted at me "I got it!". I really wanted so much to help her build her wooden train but she no longer needs my help. I stepped back and watched. She put the whole thing together herself and didn't hit her thumb once with the hammer.

It's what you want your kids to do, grow up and do things themselves. But it's probably harder for us parents to let go and let them do it. Proud and a little bit sad that I wasn't needed, that was me.