From that moment on I have done everything in my power to stay close. It is my responsibility to keep her safe and protect her from the world for she is not yet prepared. But she is getting older each day. And it scares me.
What I once could hold with one hand, I can now barely carry down the stairs. She is growing up and it is beautiful to have a front row seat to such an amazing metamorphosis. I am well aware of the fact that she won’t be mine forever. That I must begin to pull back. Give her space that will soon be hers to create. But it is difficult.
Two years ago we took a family vacation to Disney World. And that is when I, without planning it, allowed for a bit of space to be created. My son and I were leaving the pool in a hurry because he had to use the restroom. I knew she wasn’t far behind us. But she wasn’t with us. Yet, I wasn’t worried. I knew she was capable of gathering her things and meeting us back in the room.
This was space I had never given before. Allowing my daughter to be out of my sight. Away from home. Amongst strangers. But it felt right.
Once we reached our room I let my son in the room and waited for my daughter to catch up. She was taking longer than I thought she should. Now I was beginning to worry a little bit. I was expecting her to arrive any second. But when I looked down the hallway, what I saw was the photo above.
I called her name. And waited. Where was she?
I’m up here Daddy.
She had taken it upon herself to explore the building. More specifically, she had climbed to the top floor to take in the view. It was beautiful and I’m glad she was inspired to do so.
Allowing space is difficult.
Allowing space is scary.
Allowing space can backfire.
But we must. Imagine if I had forced my daughter to tag-along with her four-year old brother and I. She would have never taken those flights up. And she would have never had the opportunity to expand her view. I am so happy that she did.
As difficult as it may be, I believe that we must do the same. Regardless of our roles, we must allow more space. All the while knowing that with additional space comes the increased likelihood of mistakes.
So what? We must always remember that the magic happens outside of comfort zones. And really, whose comfort zone are we most worried about anyway? Ours or theirs’?
It seems like just yesterday I was cradling my daughter on my chest. Holding her close so that the cadence of my heartbeat would gently lull her to sleep. I would try to match her breath for breath so that separation was minimal.
I still hold her close whenever I get the chance. But now she doesn’t need me to fall asleep. She dreams with her eyes wide open. Taking the space given to her and using it to test her wings. You should see her fly. Oh, how I wish you could see her fly.
For a long time she flew only when she thought no one else was watching.