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Another Lesson in Letting Go

On Friday Anders went on his first ever school field trip. I know what I’m about to say may cause a few of you to raise an eyebrow, but I didn’t want to sign the permission slip. Even after my husband and I discussed and debated it at length (he was, without hesitation, for it) and agreed he would be allowed to go, I still paused before applying my signature to the dotted line when the teacher handed me the paper.

I know I have a history of being irrationally over protective, but this reluctance felt completely rational. For the first time ever he would be out in the world, riding in a vehicle driven by someone whose driving record I know nothing about, away from the safety that I feel he is somewhat cocooned in when he resides in the four walls of his classroom, and, yes, it made me uncomfortable.

What if he got separated from the group or darted out in front of a car in the parking lot? Can a couple of teachers really keep an eye on 15 four and five-year-olds? What if they got in an accident? Can a kid of his size even ride safely in a bus?

These were just a few of the thoughts zooming through my head as I formed each letter of my name on the permission slip. I decided that tearing it into pieces, scooping my son up, and running from the room seemed a little much. So, instead I handed the paper to Anders’ teacher, hugged him, and I left him there to enjoy his big day.

We both survived, though some enjoyed their day more than others. I know that in a few years, when we begin to face the joys that come with parenting a pre-teen and then a teenager, this event will not even be a blip on the radar. He is going to want to drive, to go to the mall alone, to spend nights away from home, and I’m going to have to loosen my grasp. I know this, but somehow that doesn’t make it any easier.

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