Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sliding

We had a dinner at church tonight, a thank-you from the leadership to the volunteers in the children's church for all of the hours of work this past year. It was fun and casual, just pizza and salad and a lot of chit-chatting.

There was also some random giveaways, about 10 gift cards to various restaurants. I didn't have much hope, because I never, ever, ever win these kinds of things. But it came down to the very last ticket that was drawn. By this time, I was barely listening to the numbers, because, hello, I never win.

And then she called, "4007015!" And I didn't even move, until my hubby nudged me and said, "Isn't that you!??"

Well, what do you know.

The only gift card left was one to Olive Garden, which I like, and although hubby isn't wild about it, even he knows better than to turn up his nose at free food. So I foresee a date that includes pasta (whole-wheat, of course) and a lot of salad in the very near future...

They opened up the playland area in the children's church for the kids, and since there was no age limit tonight, I took Savannah over. I nearly changed my mind when I saw how packed out the place was. Kids everywhere, a few little ones but mostly older, all pushing and swarming and sliding, just being kids.

But Savannah is teeny tiny. Savannah still wears some 18 month clothes, and she's 3. Savannah has never been on this gigantic play structure that is usually only for kids 5 and older. I was ready to grab her hand and march her back to the safety and relative boredom of the foyer where all the adults were hanging out.

But she didn't hesitate. She sat herself down, whipped off her shoes, and ran towards the entrance of the slide. She was swept up in a hoard of kids that were pushing their way up the stairs, and she valiantly kept up, little legs stretching and fingers groping for a handhold. And she never looked back.

I stood there off to the side, holding my breath as she was bumped and jostled, overtaken by the bigger kids, surrounded by screams and shouts of laughter, but not even caring. She was having the time of her life.

For a second I felt like I was looking down a long tunnel at the rest of her life. Seeing her swept up into something that was bigger than what I thought she could handle, and wanting to rush in and rescue her from a danger that hadn't even happened.

And I realized...I cannot always be there to watch over her. Nor should I be. I will have to let her go, let her climb, let her figure things out on her own. Life will happen, and she'll get hurt. She'll have the wind knocked out of her.

I think the hard part will be knowing when to swoop in with all of my motherly instincts and make it all better, and when to quietly let go and let her learn on her own.

I'm just glad I don't have to figure all of that out today. For now, I am still the one she wants when she comes down from the slide and she's ready to go home.

18 comments:

Aspiemom said...

Another great entry. I liked reading about your "setting Savannah free". It's hard to step back a little, isn't it?

Congrats on the Olive Garden G.C. I love the place, so if Ricardo should be away...lol

Have a fun weekend!

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Okay, you made me tear up. Which rarely happens. :) Beautiful post.

"swarming" - isn't that the truth?!

Also, I do love OG's salads and on the appetizer list is a little something called toasted ravioli. They are AMAZING.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Congrats on the OG win! I love their soups and salad. It is SO hard letting our kids go into the unknown but you handled it well. :)

Colored With Memories said...

oh jackie! love this...what a precious post!

i had no idea how petite savannah is...not that your heart would have felt any different though....

so what does it mean when lily doesn't want to leave the play area w/mommy?!? :)

Krystal said...

What a great post! It's so hard to know when to let them be and when to swoop in and "save" them. I'm a pretty over-protective mom, but I do know that I can't always keep them in my safe little environment! Great post!

And little Savannah in her 18 month clothes just cracks me up...here I have "little" Griffin who is 1 1/2 who can wear 3T shorts! That is so funny! She is just tiny and my guy is just a chunk!

Have a great weekend!
Krystal

Gretchen said...

Well, I love a good cry at 7 a.m. pacific time, Jackie, thanks.

Beautiful perspectives, friend. Both the letting go, and the idea that we don't have to figure everything out today. What a blessed daughter you have.

Jenn said...

What a beautiful and heartfelt post! Learning when to step in or let go is one of the hardest parts of mommyhood. We have such a strong motherly instinct to want to protect them from any harm. You worded this post beautifully. I loved it!

Rach@In His Hands said...

Oh, Jackie, you have me in tears. You expressed this so beautifully - a struggle every Mom must go through every day...wanting to hold their kiddos tight, while willing that their children learn and grow and try.

Yay for Olive Garden! I love it there. Especially the breadsticks....yum.

Tracy's Porch said...

You speak "mom" so well.

I am actually reading a fabulous book all about having to let our kids go and learn so they can be successful adults. It is called Blessings of a Skinned Knee. I highly reccomend it to all parents, teachers and other educators!!!!!

Melissa said...

Enjoy your Olive Garden! That sounds Yummy!

Wendy said...

Congrats on your gift card! I never win those things either so that means there is hope for me, too, right?

Oh, and how sweet was your writing about Savannah. You've captured that aspect beautifully.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

GREAT post, once again, my friend. I know all too well exactly what you were feeling that day. It's hard, and I'll bet it's even harder with a girl. ;-)

But I will say this, too: I do love me some Olive Garden salad and breadsticks! Especially when it's FREE! Congratulations...I can't imagine anyone else there who deserved it more!

jennifer said...

I love reading your blog! You are just so gifted... You have this way of putting words together -- I just FEEL what you mean.

Jennifer @ Taking My Time said...

You should seriously submit this to a parenting magazine. It's beyond good...

Elena said...

This is so true. You made me tear up as I read it. I feel that way about Mary.

Rachel said...

I am so with you on this. My daughter is teeny-tiny, too, and I'm constantly worrying and fretting over her and that she's going to get hurt by the bigger kids. It is SO hard to step back and just let her be.

MoziEsmé said...

Sweet post! This trip to independence is hardest on us moms, I think... :)

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

Loved this! I've experienced moments like that. I'm also glad I don't have to have that all figured out just yet. One day at a time, right?