This past spring brought several new experiences for me, one of which was letting my children go to visit relatives for more than just a day.
I had my first taste of their growing independence last year when the three oldest went to camp last summer. I was confident about them going, as my brother and sister-in-law ran the camp, my niece was one of the counselors, and they had three cousins going as well. I have to admit, though, I was sad when I saw them off on the bus and glad when they returned home again. All three of them reported having a great time.
This past May, we did a lot of traveling, and the kids had the opportunity to stay with different family members, some for as long as four or five days. Again, it was so hard to let them go, and I missed them so much. Some enjoyed themselves more than others; a couple of them got homesick, which made me even sadder. My third child, Lillie, who had thoroughly enjoyed camp the year before, seemed to have the most trouble adjusting.
What I learned: children need room to grow and try new things, but it doesn’t have to be right now or all at once. Lillie’s only eight – there’s still lots of time for independence, as well as lots of time for hugs and kisses. It’s not a terrible thing that she still wants to be close by, that she still wants to hold my hand, that she still wants to snuggle at night. In fact, I need to take advantage of those opportunities while I can. Time goes by so quickly, and soon she won’t want to do those things anymore; she’ll be independent…and I’ll wish she wasn’t.