Growing Independence

Our house is back to normal after the Christmas decorations and mess. I love the festive decorations – how the whole house transforms as we anticipate Christmas. And, while I know we should be celebrating Epiphany and the excitement of the kings, I am ready for quiet and rest as we ease into January. (Though, we do leave our outside lights up until after Epiphany. I guess we have to ease into rest…)

unnamedThis new year starts a bit of a new phase for us. Bea is in swim lessons two mornings a week and dance class once a week. And while that isn’t busy at all compared with some families, for us, this is a lot of structure. I view it as easing into the preschool routine. (Speaking of, we visit our top choice next week – where does the time go?!)

I was talking with a friend about this transition to more. She has a daughter who is a year older than Bea, so I get to use her experiences as a glimpse into our future. We were talking about how, as school takes over and the family schedule shifts from playdates to a more structured routine, it seems natural for the family to turn inward. Perhaps it’s a survival thing – the need to remember our core.

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Not to be left behind, Elle is rolling all over the place!

It can feel easy to want to keep up with everyone else: To put Bea in as many activities as possible to help her be well rounded. Or to swing to the other extreme and put her in nothing, as we cherish this finite period of life with few expectations. Once school starts, that’s it. You’re in it for the next 20 years.

While I certainly don’t want to rush anything, I’m excited about this next phase. Even in our two little classes, it’s neat to see Bea taking what we’ve instilled at home and transferring it to a setting on her own. She is able to make choices without me and it’s so cool watching her make good ones.

It makes me proud to watch her become more and more her own person and, as bittersweet as the start of preschool seems, I’m looking forward to this next phase and a time of giving her more independence.

What changes are happening in your life now? If you’re a parent, how do you feel about the release of responsibility to your kids? Is there a phase you loved best?

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2 thoughts on “Growing Independence

  1. It’s always a bittersweet balance as our children develop wings and begin to fly. I love that Bea is getting to try some activities and see what she likes/doesn’t like. We’ve tried to find that balance between keeping family time as the core yet still encouraging the boys to try new activities to see what they like and where their giftings lie. Each family has to talk about what their priorities are and determine how to live them out. 🙂 NOT easy stuff!

    With one boy in junior high, we’re giving him more responsibility, and he’s (honestly) struggling somewhat with it, just because of who he is. So, we’re learning to re-group and help him grow into the responsibilities that junior high requires. Not easy, but we’re learning. And there’s lots of dying to self in the process.

    You’re doing a great job, Annie!

    1. I remember our conversation on activity level and have kept that in mind – even though we’re not in school yet…. (I view swim lessons as a life skill; dance is her choice.) Oh, gosh. Can’t imagine the mentality shift in junior high…!! I guess we never stop learning, right?

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