The other morning when we got up, Rae plodded downstairs, put some cheerios on her sister’s high chair, then unlocked the back door and let the dog out. I came downstairs laughing, “Wow! You don’t even need me, do you?” She replied, not quite as confidently as she seemed, “I’m not that big, Mom!” But this is the same ambitious three year old who brushes her own teeth and spits out the toothpaste, takes small toys away from the baby (“so that she don’t choke”), makes her own bed, unloads the silverware from the dishwasher, picks out her clothes and gets dressed (albeit multiple times a day), and has gone to the bathroom on her own since she was just 2 years old. Miss Independent.
It frightens me sometimes how her need for me is gradually (and sometimes not so gradually!) diminishing. But I guess that’s the whole point of parenting, right?…to raise a person who’s completely capable of living without you! In the beginning, they rely on us for everything–even burping and falling asleep–but eventually they learn how to do all these things on their own–eating, taking a bath, riding a bike, doing homework, driving a car!
And we’re left standing in the wake of their abrupt autonomy….and wondering where all that time went. I pray that my children grow up to be self-sufficient, self-disciplined and successful individuals, and I hope that I’m training them to be such. But, jeez, kid…couldn’t you just slow down a little bit?! 🙂