Solo walk


A wee anecdote: not much, but all I can muster at the moment, what with all the pre-K doings to do (and savor) these days.

We hauled our family out of bed early — must practice for tomorrow! 8am school bell, yegods! — and rewarded our accomplishment with a special breakfast out.  We chose a local deli where I’ve had many, many a Sunday morning blintz with my mother during my college years. Today marks the sixteenth year she’s been up and about in the ether.  Nothing sweet about this sixteen year-mark, no ma’am, but neither the bitter-sharp infinite darkness it once was.

Eventually, one can almost forget the limp.

After breakfast, the beloved went her way to work, and the kiddles and I went ours, up the street toward a park to while away the morning. The girlie hopped up and walked along this curb. Out of habit, I offered to hold her hand.

To which she said, “No thanks, Baba. I want to do this on my own.”

4 thoughts on “Solo walk”

  1. Awwww!!! My heart just broke a little! She’s so ready for kindergarten, you’ve prepared her so well for this time when she will be able to walk ahead without clinging to your hand. It is sweet and exciting to see her march proudly toward her future. It reminds me of that quote, something about “Having children is like having your heart permanently walk around outside of your body.” I don’t know whose quote it is and when I googled it, I came up with a number of variants of it. I may have even seen it on your blog, I can’t remember. I’m getting old. Your girlie (and boy) are so lucky to have parents who are so completely invested in them and their well being. I wish her the best of luck, she’s going to be just fine. And when she falters or has a moment of uncertainty, as we all do, you’ll be right there to encourage her, or maybe to hold her hand for a bit. ~Susan

    • Thank you so, sister Susan. I tell you, the second she’d ask, I’d pull the camouflage bush away and reveal that I was there all along. At which point of course she’d probably want to bop me upside the head with her lunchbox. But still.

      As to the statement re: the heart living outside the body. I heard it first from a chum in grad school, who was mother to three when I met her. She and another already-a-mom grad school friend were my first intros to peers who were parents. I always remembered it that she said it was a traditional Ojibwe saying (her peeps). But she might well have said she read it in Reader’s Digest & I just romanticized it. Still, it’s damn true.

  2. I have been watching my son go since he could walk. He has happily marched ahead without looking back. He has taught me so much about letting go, more than I have wanted to know at times. It can be so painful and, yet, there is beauty there too. I’m thinking of you today as your monkey goes to kindergarten and wishing the best for you all.

  3. Having spent the last year and a half doing the intensive catch-up work of building a parental bond with a 5-6-7 year old, I’m now getting that bittersweet feeling of seeing her back as she’s walking away from us. She spent so much of the first year in desperate need of connection, clinging constantly while fighting us off, a heartbreaking pushmipullyou that gradually morphed into love, connection, stability, confidence, trust. And now, a year and a half later, she’s almost 5 inches taller (‘all legs!’ everybody keeps telling us), 4 shoe sizes bigger, grade 2 instead of kindergarten. And oh, the heart pangs as she runs off practically daily into some new piece of independence, and we stand behind watching her, so proud and terrified and sad and heart-full.

    The work of letting them go has begun. And yet, at unsuspected moments, she wants to be cuddled in our laps, wants to suck her fingers with her eyes closed, wants us to do it for her just because, wants to crawl into bed with us in the morning. The back and forward of moving into new growth is endlessly fascinating to watch. The trick of it seems to be knowing when to let them move away, and when they’re secretly dying for you to hold their hand. Here’s hoping we manage that delicate balance reasonably well as they grow, hey?

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