Bee is achingly close to learning how to walk. She’s standing on her own, often testing the boundaries of gravity and matter in the daredevil-est of ways. She’s always been a fairly active baby, lifting her head in one week, rolling over at two months, crawling at four. As a first-time mother, it feels too fast, as if we’re surpassing the baby phase and moving straight into toddler territory of playgrounds and playdates and tantrums. Yet with every ounce of my being, I’m continually reminding myself that independence is an important (yet ever-so-difficult) gift to give our children.
C. Joybell C. once wrote something touching that I’ve always knew I’d have to keep in my parenthood back pocket: “I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway…let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.”
Bee’s favorite place to practice walking is the sofa in our office. She’ll pull herself up to the cushions and scoot her feet ever-so-slowly until she gets into a rhythm and moves from one end to the other, steadying herself with her hands just in case she loses her footing. And I realize that, one day, she’s going to let go of the cushion, believing in her own muscles. Her own two feet. Her own strength.
And on that day, I’ll be practicing, too. It will be a lesson for both of us — a lesson in faith and trust and strength. A lesson in independence from the couch cushions of protection and comfort.
A lesson in letting go.