I finished my run this morning, and had time, according to our normal daily routine, to catch a solid half hour of reading before the rest of the house would awaken. Standing at the refrigerator, drawing cold water from the dispenser in the door, I was suddenly aware of a person staring at me. I had heard NOTHING.
Thankfully, it was Eliza, our nearly 3 year old daughter. She recently graduated to a “big girl bed.” She had not, prior to this morning, gotten up and out of bed on her own. Today, though, she got out of bed and came downstairs in near darkness. Apparently, the intent was to scare the _____ out of me.
I maintained a game face, and fairly quickly and smoothly moved into being proud of Eliza for growing up so much to get herself up and come downstairs.
Then I realized that, perhaps, the days of going and getting her out of bed have passed. I looked forward to that!
Children grow up. Sometimes it happens in small steps, sometimes in bigger steps. The goal for parents, at its most basic, is to get them grown up and on their own.
I began to wonder this morning what it means to be “on one’s own.” Is this what we mean by the word “independent”? If so, how independent do I hope she is someday? And when?
Does independent mean I never hear from her again?
I read somewhere recently that if we really did not like change, no one would ever have children. I suppose there is some truth to that. I remain convinced that the change we (usually) have the most difficulty with is the change that comes without warning and not from our own decisions.