It's summertime! ... which means lots of trips to the playground, the pool, and countless hours spent exploring the great outdoors. No more pajama days or days spent huddling inside shielding ourselves from the cold. Thank goodness.
I personally LOVE summer and sunshine and time spent outside. Or I loveD it. It has changed a little, though, since I became a mama.
You see, when it's wintertime and we're stuck inside fingerpainting and playdoh-ing and pedicuring and bathtub fishing, the chances of injury seem to be pretty minimal.
But when the temperatures rise above 60 and we're outside as soon as our tummies are full of breakfast, I feel like I'm constantly tending to scraped knees or worried she's going to drown or holding my breath while she climbs to the top of the jungle gym. Especially now that she's at this inbetween age... the age where I feel like she still sort of needs to hold my hand, but also the age where I need to start letting her GO.
All it takes is a quick glimpse at a social media story about a freak accident that took the life of a too-young child, or another sad news story on the 6:00 show... and I'm back to wanting to put my sweet girl in a bubble, or at least run through life behind her with my arms stretched out wide ready to catch her in case something bad is about to happen.
So how do we let go, and let them be?
Where do we draw the line between keeping them safe, and letting them explore this world on their own?
I can't imagine something horrible happening, and looking back to realize I could've prevented it. But I also don't want to look back at these precious, imaginative, curious years of my little girl and feel like I held her back from finding her way.
It's a constant struggle for me. When I get that pang in my gut, I don't know if it's worry, or motherly instincts. How in the world can I tell the difference?!
I don't know the answers to any of my rhetorical questions, and I'm guessing no one does since there isn't a manual on this whole parenting gig. For now, though, I'm going to do my best to enjoy the sunshine and enjoy her wildly skipping and bounding through life. And I know there will be scraped knees to kiss and injuries to tend to... but my goal is to make sure she knows that it's okay to fall down, to get bumped and bruised - but she always has to get back up. And though I may need to let her take some of those falls, I will always be there to help her get back on her feet.