The job of a parent is to give your children roots to grow and wings to fly.I remember when I was in college, my parents and I were down visiting my grandparents farm in Texas…it was probably Thanksgiving or something. Anyway, my mom was looking out the window at a tree and started crying. In that tree was a nest with a momma bird and her baby. The momma was trying to teach her baby to fly, so she would gently nudge her closer to the edge of the nest. I’m sure it was scary for the baby, but I guarantee it was even scarier for the momma. However, she knew what she had to do. Her job as the mom was to teach her baby to fly. At that time for my mom, I was in college and my brother was working in Texas. We were both adults and had left our home of Wyoming to explore new adventures. I know us leaving home was hard on my parents, but they also knew that it was what we needed to do…it was what they had raised us to do. They had given us wings, and now we were using those wings. But they had also given us roots…a strong foundation in their love and support, which gave us the confidence to go out.
Today Ella started preschool. I cried…a lot. What happened to my baby? But as hard as it is for me, I know that this is the right step. Ella is ready. She talked about going to “church school” all morning. She picked out her outfit and ate her entire pancake for breakfast. When we arrived we went into the bathroom and washed her hands like a big girl, then headed to her classroom. She walked in like she owned the place. No looking back…just looking ahead and checking out all that was to be her new classroom. She was spreading her wings. As I kissed her goodbye I started to cry. I told her that I love her and that I am so proud of her. Ella was unphased. She walked over to the table and pointed at her name sign, and that was it…she was off on her own. Honestly, I don’t think she even cared that Metti was with her. As much as I want to, I can’t hold Ella’s hand her entire life. This is where it’s my turn to grow. Just as preschool is teaching Ella to grow and spread her wings, it’s teaching me to let her grow.
When I picked her up 4 hours later (the longest 4 hours of my life!), Ella had been crying. My heart broke for her. Metti assured me that she had been fine all day and that as soon as the teacher announced that it was time to go, Ella suddenly burst into tears. She was exhausted and was asleep within minutes of getting home.
It was a big day for all of us. Ella got to spread her little baby wings and venture out onto her own, and Joe and I had to learn to let her go. It’s a good step and she’s already talking about going back tomorrow.