The art of letting go...

Every year we spend time with my in-laws in northern Europe at their summer home on the North Sea. It is always a mix of our culture and theirs.

We have been using a fair amount of gas - at $10 per gallon, it is quite an expense. Not in the car, but in the boat.

Last year I nearly had a nervous breakdown. My husband let my daughter take the boat out alone on the sea. She was 9 1/2 years old. Even though I could see her and we had a 2nd boat to rescue her if necessary, I flipped out! I can still remember the mixture of anger and fear.

This year, she went by herself to my brother-in-law's cabin. It isn't far, but we can't see her for the majority of the trip. In fact, I offered "why don't you take the boat".

Would this get me thrown in jail in New Jersey?

By doing this she gains independence and self-confidence. Learning to trust her, letting go of my own angst, giving her space to try are gifts I can't give her at home. These are all things *I* have to work on.

Seeing her start the boat, then disappear beyond the hills eastward bound was like a 6-year flash-forward when she will want to take the car to see her friends, leaving me behind in the drive-way.

I guess then too I will need time to adjust. Until then, I am grateful for the chance to experience a European culture where children are encouraged to be independent. Am I still more comfortable in the uber-controlled culture of Bridgewater where society decides that the umbilical cord length should be short, and mothers are judged for letting go? Probably. But I am learning.

Yes, C will walk to school in the fall! No, I am not scared! It is for her own good! Go C go!


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