By Myself, By Myself

We love to laugh when we remember my daughter (at about 18 months of age) running around the middle of our living room, chanting: “By myself! By myself!” It was as if she was declaring her own rally cry — she was ready (and still is!) to take on the world, all on her own.

As with most things, the timing of independence is different for each child. My littlest guy seems to have taken a cue from his big sister — already wanting to do everything on his own! I try to give him a bite to eat and he’s grabbing for the spoon, not happy until I let him try to get the yogurt into his mouth all by himself. This is a messy endeavor, not just for my kitchen, but for my heart.

I know (I know!) this independence is a good thing, a wonderful skill that we want to instill in all of our children. And maybe it’s just because he’s my last baby and everything he does for the “first” time is a “last” for me…but it’s been awfully bittersweet to see him taking not only his first steps, but his first steps away from me.

Why does it seem like kids grow up so fast? Is it because we have crammed our days and our evenings so full of “stuff” that we are whizzing by at break-neck speed, too dizzy from the whirlwind of activities and focused on surviving the day that we are missing the moments? And yet, the moments are still happening, faster and faster and faster.

I want to savor these days so that I can celebrate with my children as they gain more and more independence…and I want to carve margin in my days so they have time to practice that independence at home. I don’t want every moment to be hurry up, hurry up — I want more adenda-less days and cozy evenings together, making our own memories and giving my children a safe place to learn, to make mistakes, to grow their character before they set out on their own. Before they are doing everything “by myself”…

He even wants to “read” all by himself!

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