During the recent Mother’s Day weekend, I found myself driving north to New Hampshire to take a tour of an overnight camp my youngest daughter, almost 12, came home from school the prior week and announcing she “had to go to” this summer with her friends. While this is very age-appropriate, any one who knows my daughter who is reading this is at this very moment reading the last paragraph and shouting out loud “Get out! M…shy little M!!??” Yup…the one and only.
This is a child who used to talk about living at home “forever”.
This is a child whose dream college was “definitely in Boston…maybe Connecticut” – so she could come home and visit when she felt the urge.
This is a child who, until this year, “wasn’t a fan of sleepovers”. She used to explain “it’s a bed thing – I like my own bed.”
So, when this same child came home last week and started off telling me about her day with “So, about the summer…there’s this camp in New Hampshire…” I almost fell off my seat and I’m sure my heart skipped a beat.
Every relative who heard this story has had the same reaction. First, shock…”M??” then pure excitement (“All right, M!!”).
This isn’t a child who will be living at home forever – this child is growing up.
This isn’t a child who will just look at Boston or Connecticut for colleges some day – this child is starting to see a world around her and want to explore it!
This child is now a fan of sleepovers because “how else can you sleep somewhere other than home and be with your friends.” Good thing because the camp has bunks!!
So, never say ‘never’ when it comes to your kids. They bloom in the most amazing ways when they are ready, not when we think they are ready, and often do so when we least expect it. All we can do as parents is prepare for the unexpected and be their best cheering squad through their new found courage, excitement and interests.
BTW, I used to worry about this child, my previously shy, no longer little M. Not any more! This child has clearly emerged from her cocoon and sprouted wings that are sure to take her in many exciting directions – and we’re happy to help her snatch some air space to take a few practice runs before she’s old enough to really wonder from home. I hope you’ll do the same with your tweens and teens. Just like a new pilot takes many test runs before flying solo, our tweens and teens will need many new experiences with us close at hand, but just a bit out of reach, before they are finally on their own in the adult world.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*