Over the summer Peter and I began leaving Tristan home alone while we ran two blocks to pick-up milk and bread. Just like teaching Tristan how-to communicate or what social cues look like, we have coached Tristan in being responsible while being home alone. Being home alone is one thing, but now Tristan will be walking from school to the library with friends. Two blocks, one side street to cross, and hanging-out with the others kids that is what I will face this afternoon.
My friend, Diana, said you could spy from across the street. As much as I want to jump behind the bushes and experience Tristan’s independence with him that would be just stretching the cord further not snapping it. We moved to this town of 8,000 residents so our children could grow-up walking to school and to the store. In the 1970’s I walked to kindergarten with a friend, without a parent. Today, crime is lower than the 1970s and 1980s and I still have ping in the stomach every time I think of Tristan strutting down the sidewalk.
Just like the sadness and anxiety of weaning a nursing baby or leaving your kindergartener at school, plunging your child into the world without you is another milestone toward adulthood. The sadness comes with the realization that you can never turn back. It is not like I can begin nursing my eight year old again as much as I might miss the cuddling, I really don’t miss always carrying a baby, so we are moving forward and growing (hopefully not horizontally).