It used to be that I’d blog about baby/toddler milestones, like all of this adorable stuff that Jack Henry did at just over a year.
Well. Times have certainly changed. Over the past several weeks, there has been some inching towards independence going on around here, and it’s completely freaking me out.
For instance, several weeks ago, the 2 older boys asked if they could take a walk/scooter ride on their own. I set parameters on where they’re allowed to go, and give them a time (like 15 minutes) to be home with the threat that their freedom gets taken away if they don’t come home on time.
They’ve been home on time.
Seriously, the first time I let them do this, my stomach felt like a pit of acid while I waited for them to return. It’s only slightly better now. But we’ve stressed over and over through the years how important it is that we are able to trust them (and vice versa), and there’s no test like a parent extending a freedom that can be revoked if the trust is broken. So far, so good.
Then today, a new freedom/milestone popped up. After church, Matt and I decided to divide and conquer in order to accomplish 2 errands before meeting back at home and then heading to Luke’s baseball game. However, literally seconds after Luke, Jack Henry and I walked in the door of our house, my phone’s calendar beeped, reminding me that Jack Henry was supposed to be at a birthday party in 10 minutes.
Mind you, we already had the gift, and it was totally on my radar yesterday…just not today. Oh well, no big deal, they live 5 minutes from us. I hollered to the boys to put their shoes back on, and told Luke that I’d have Matt pick him up at the party in a few minutes, so he wouldn’t be there long.
And then it occurred to me; I could leave him home. Or could I?
I was in such a rush as I called Matt to tell him JH and I were darting off to the party that I just blurted out, without entirely thinking it through, “If you’re already on your way home, I could leave Luke here.” Matt agreed that we could do that.
So I hurried a grinning-ear-to-ear Luke back in the house, explained to him that he absolutely was not allowed to answer the door or the phone, or surf the internet or channels, but that he could watch the Cards/Cubs game if he’d like. I made him recite my cell phone number, reminded him that it would be no more than 15 minutes and that he could call me if he needed, and I headed out. (Yes, I know he was probably using all his strength to not roll his eyes at me, but he didn’t. Go Luke.) Please note that we wouldn’t let him stay home with one of his brothers yet…I fear that there would be blood drawn.
All the way to the party, I was like, “did I just really leave my kid home alone? What am I doing?”
I get it. I get that this is what I’m parenting for…to eventually set him free as an adult that can handle responsibility and relationships and decision-making.
But that’s hard when I sometimes still think of Luke as a little kid.
In a lot of ways, he still is a little kid. But in so many, he’s growing up. Double digits this December, people, DOUBLE DIGITS. I feel so not ready for the years ahead. My degree is in early childhood development, and he is clearly outside the knowledge I gained in school. So it feels so much like we’re winging it with him.
But hey, being firstborns as Matt and I are, our parents just winged it with us, too, and we turned out ok. Lots of prayers that he does, too.