Monday, April 5, 2010

Letting Go

I'll admit it; I'm too protective of my daughter. She's my only child, and I was THIS close to losing her during the end of my pregnancy. I'm not sure if that's why I'm over-protective of her or if it's because I'm just a neurotic mess. Add in her high-functioning autism, and well, I protect her too much!

We were at the park the other day. She had an amazing day there! She made a couple of new friends and played incredibly well with them! I was so proud! When they had to go, an old friend of my daughter's showed up, and they had fun playing together. Then her old friend started to play some power games with my daughter, and my daughter handled THAT amazingly well! Again, I was really proud of her. I didn't need to intervene at all; my daughter handled the situation like an old pro! Before long, the friend was chasing after my daughter to get back into her good graces. Love it!

The only issue was with the big-kid play equipment! This park has a small-kid play equipment and a big-kid play equipment. My daughter always liked the big-kid equipment. But there is one feature on it that I felt she was too small and never allowed her to do. It's these two parallel bars that run at a 45 degree angle from the top of the structure (at over 6 feet in height) to the ground.

My daughter REALLY wanted to go down them, but I didn't think she was strong enough to hold onto them, and swing one arm down, then the other, without falling a big distance. I told her she had to wait until she was much bigger to do it. However, her two new friends were able to do use them as well as her old friend. They were all around the same age as my daughter. I realized that I had to let her try them! She was right to push me!

So, on my daughter's first attempt, I held onto her legs to support her as she figured out how to move her hands down the bars. I realized that I was getting in her way from swinging her body to facilitate this, but I couldn't let go until she was down a ways. She tried this again with me still hanging onto her legs for dear life! The third time, I realized I had to let go and let her try on her own. She really wanted to do it on her own, but when she started, she looked at me and said, "I'm nervous!" I was scared out of my mind, but I hid it the best I could and said, "You can do it, and I'm right here!" She did it and did a great job!

It's really hard for me to let go, both literally--as in this case--and figuratively. But she's growing up fast, and I know I have to let her do more and more for herself. This will mean that I have to let her have her own achievements and make her own mistakes. I think her special needs really make it even harder for me to let go. But she needs to develop into her own person. So far, she's doing an amazing job!

15 comments:

  1. My daughter turns 17 in a few days and I still have a hard time letting go and I HAVE TO, but I sure don't like it! I know how you feel.

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  2. So, this feeling will never go away?

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  3. This is a wonderful blog- sharing the events of your daughter and helping other moms in the process. My son is not autistic but you are inspirational! Stopping by from the blog frog and don't worry your hits will get there! come visit if you can! http://kitchenbelleicious.blogspot.com

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  4. Love your blog found you through sits..come visit me..im following you

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  5. Redhead Riter, Kitchen Belleicious, and natalee: You are all too kind! SITS and BlogFrog are awesome! I am now a follower of your sites as well! I look forward to learning a lot from you ladies!

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  6. My children are 21 and almost 25 and I have a hard time letting go, especially when physical safety is an issue. I think as a parent you always worry and that is our legacy.

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  7. As moms I don't think we can ever truly let go. I don't think we are supposed to. But it sounds like you know how much room she needs to grow and you will both be great!

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  8. thanks for commenting on my blog. I found u via cafemom btw. anyhow...i agree it is hard to let go emotionally sometimes.

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  9. Lorie and Kim:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Lorie: of course, you're right, but I have a really hard time! LOL! Kim: your blog is great! Isn't Cafemom wonderful? A bunch of really supportive moms!

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  10. You should be proud of this post - it's great. I wish I knew the answer to your questions... on the one hand, I don't think there's anything wrong with not letting go. She is YOUR baby and you're trying to protect her. On the other hand, I think you'll know when it's time. Or she'll let you know! :)

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  11. Hey Cheryl,
    You sound like an amazing mom. I have 3 boys, myself and totally get the whole "letting go" struggle, WITHOUT the special needs, so I applaud you (literally...clapping in front of the computer) Coincidentally, I recently wrote a post about how my boys no longer need me and how quickly they are growing up (tear). My oldest is suddenly sounding more like James Earl Jones than my baby and it's completely freaking me out! My youngest wont snuggle anymore (unless I trip him and he needs comforting for his injury...ok, I don't really do that!) Anyway, you might get a giggle from this one (www.lolais40.com). I will definitely be following you!

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  12. What a well written post. I can almost see you squeezing your daughter's legs. LOL! I think a lot of mothers can relate and have troubles letting go, myself included. I have 2 boys, ages 6 and 2, without special needs and man do I struggle on a day to day basis. More and more I hear "I can do it myself" and each time I do, I feel both pride and sadness. Our babies grow up.

    Happy SITS day!

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  13. It is hard to let go. When I think about one day letting my girls walk to school (which is in our subdivision - literally one block away from our house), I freak out. It's in our mommy genes to want to protect from all harm and imagine all the worst case scenarios. Happy SITS day!

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  14. You did the right thing mama! I know how hard it is. Most of the time I close my eyes and turn away to prevent myself from having a massive panic attack. Both of mine are so dare-devilish. They are not afraid of anything. And I am afraid of EVERYTHING with them. So I hide it, sometimes better than others! lol

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  15. Found you through SITS and saw that you have a daugher with High-Functioning Autism. I have a 12 year old son who has Aspergers, so this really stuck out to me! I love your blog and will be coming back to read more!

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