Many of my earlier posts received little attention, but there are a few that I really like. The one I'm going to feature here I originally posted in April 5, 2010. It received 10 comments at the time--an amazing number considering how few people read my blog at the time. I like it because it really explains something I wrestle with on an almost daily basis--the urge to protect my daughter competing with the need for her to explore her abilities and find out who she is. This theme repeats itself pretty constantly on my blog. It obviously is a battle I have internally quite often! The title of the post was "Letting Go." Here is the post:
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!