On the first day of school after the summer vacation and as I always do, I drove my daughter to school. She was now on second grade. All throughout the first year I walked with her to her class. She demanded that I hold her hand to class and every time I asked her whether she would like to walk by herself to class she was reacting, not letting me go. On this first day I stood with her at the school gate and asked her again if she would go by herself. As expected she refused but this time I insisted for her to try. After a few attempts of encouraging her she got frustrated, picked up her bag and walked to class, alone, without a goodbye, without a kiss and a hug; she was very angry. I stood there surprised staring at her walking away. The feeling I had was guilt that I pushed my daughter away. Then I felt proud for her courage. But then I felt sad. This is the feeling I want to concentrate on. Although a part of me wanted her to be more independent and walk by herself, another part of me wanted her to remain dependent on me, to hold my hand until the entrance of the class. I realised that the feeling of sadness is perfectly normal for a parent who sees his kid moving on, detaching, becoming independent. It weakens our position of the almighty powerful parent that children need to rely on. A part of us, consciously or unconsciously, wants our kids to remain dependent on us… forever. It’s always hard to let go but it’s a necessary process for the individuation of our kids so that they can become individuals of their own.
I stayed with the sadness of the moment, I understood where it was coming from. Slowly it went away and the feeling of proudness stayed. When later she came home I told her how proud I was for her accomplishment. Let your children know how proud you are of them, even for little things, it’s very important for them to hear that. And most importantly, let your children be.