Guest Post: More Than Meets the Eye

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Allison is a slightly OCD momma (yes, M&Ms must be eaten in pairs of matching colors) who blogs over at Alli ‘n Son and tweets at Alli_n_Son. She’s the momma of a spunky, energetic, and frustrating two-year-old boy. You can often find her up to the knees in potty training, bubbles, and all things balls. She’s also a wanna-be photographer and gourmet chef, a highly creative woman, and one-time graphic designer, all rolled into one.

First off, huge congrats to Jessie on the birth of her son! As the mother of an almost 3-year-old boy, I know that she has so many wonderful things to look forward to. Especially things related to balls. Oh the joys of having a boy.

Pitching

Like I said, I’m the mother to an almost 3-year-old boy. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the second half of his life, working a full-time job for the first half. Which was torture, let me tell you. It’s funny how having a kid completely and utterly changes who you are. I went from very career-focused to not really caring about my job. With the help of my husband, we worked toward financial stability so I could finally leave my job.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about how I became a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to share a story with you.

For the last year I’ve had my son enrolled in a beginner’s gymnastics class. It isn’t so much a gymnastics class as it is a jump-on-the-trampoline-and-run-through-tunnels-for-30-minutes class. We’ve been in the same class with the same group of women and kids since the beginning, and we have all formed a tight bond. Our kids have the type of friendship that will grow with them as they grow. I can actually see them all, hanging out on the football field together at high school games. Seriously.

Recently we were confronted with a tough decision, one that from the outside doesn’t seem major but hidden below was a whole world of meaning. The class the kids were enrolled in was technically for kids ages 1-2. The next level up was 2-3. By all means, we should move our kids to the next level. Perhaps we should have moved them a while ago.

But the thing is, we kind of have the run of the class. It’s unorganized, the kids can run and play, and we—the moms and grandmas—can sit back and talk, knowing that the kids are safe and having fun. There’s a course set up for various activities, but rarely do we actually guide our kids through it. We’d much rather just let them be. Actually, when a new instructor came in and tried to get the class organized, we kind of wore her down until she stopped trying. Now, she sits down and talks with us while the kids do their thing.

The class was coming to an end and we had to make a decision: move on to the next level or hold the kids back. In my heart of hearts I knew that the kids were ready, all of them. They just needed our help and guidance and before we knew it, they would follow along the course and still be having a blast.

Even though this may seem like a small decision, it really is much larger than it appears. It’s about more than moving from one class to the next. It’s about learning to let our kids grow up. It’s about guiding them to experience new things. It’s about holding their hands on new adventures and knowing when to let go.

Spider's web

I view motherhood as a big spider web with our kid(s) right at the very center. When they are born we are attached to them in every way possible. We are responsible for feeding them and clothing them. For changing diapers, bathing them, and keeping them clean. But as time goes on, our responsibilities change, lessen even. They learn how to feed themselves, and a strand of the web falls away. They learn how to dress themselves {most days} and two more strands disappear. They are potty trained and even stay dry overnight. More strands drift away in the wind. Slowly over years and years the spider web loses its strength. But an amazing thing happens: the spider, our kids, grow stronger. They learn how to live apart from us, in baby steps. And it’s amazing.

Our job, as mothers, fathers, grandparents, caregivers, whoever, is to hold on to our kids with all of our might, but to also realize when it’s time to let go and let them grow. In the end, we did decide to move our kids up to the next level of gymnastics class, and I’m so glad that we did {because honestly, if everyone wanted to stay behind, I probably would have moved my son to the next level anyway}. I know in my heart of hearts that they were all ready, they just need a little guidance from us. They need to know that we have faith that they will succeed. In the next class. In the next stage of life. Even as our hold gets weaker and weaker, they know that we are here for them, giving them the push they need but also offering solid ground when they fall.

Parenthood is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But watching your kid(s) grow and become his or her own person, there’s just nothing else on earth like it.

One thought on “Guest Post: More Than Meets the Eye

  1. What a beautiful post. As a mother who held her daughters close but has had to let them both fly away to another state this tugged at my heart. I must say that I am so proud of them and me! While I would love to have them live in the same state (or, ahem, town or even neighborhood) I know that by moving away they have grown by leaps and bounds. They are much more independent than they would have been if they had stayed physically close.

    Congratulations on being so insightful at your son's young age. He will be blessed having a mother who will encourage him to grow.

    Donna (Vanderbilt wife's mom)

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