Today I’ve done something I never would have thought I’d ever be comfortable doing until any of my girls was oh, say about 12 or so. My almost 6 year old daughter K is being shuttled, at this very moment, an hour away from me in the care of two friends of mine, C (a police officer) and A (an ICU nurse) to join them and their daughter O on a small excursion. O is the only child K bonded with in her first year of preschool and the only child K worked up the courage to whisper to when she thought no one was looking (K was selectively mute in most school situations for about a year and a half).
They are going to a local zoo and an outlet mall. C called me up yesterday to extend the last minute invite for my daughter to join them. Knowing that he took good care of her when he invited her to a movie with his daughter helped me feel confident that she’s going to be okay.
There once was a time when this paranoid, over-protective mother would have said no. But because I know these two friends well (C is quite a bit like me in the overprotective department), and because they have been very good to our family in the past, and because of my daughter’s anxiety-based selective mutism, I have to choose opportunities that will give her confidence that she’s going to be just fine without me…I’ve learned to nudge my little bird a little bit to expand her comfort zone. And well ultimately…if you can’t trust a police officer and a nurse to know what to do in an emergency, who can you trust?
After what happened yesterday, I’m a little concerned, but not too much. I actually said a little prayer over my daughter like my Protestant MIL would do, and almost decided to send a rosary like my Catholic grandmother would do when we’d go on trips, but forgot at the last minute.
I have to trust that my baby will be okay (even though it’s supposed to rain today – I hope it won’t be a summer storm). I have to ignore the what-ifs and trust that my friends will treat my highly sensitive baby as carefully as they would their own.
As this beautiful quote goes
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
~ Kahlil Gibran