Saturday, January 12, 2013

Growing Up

As hard as it is to say, our little Peanut is growing up. 

We had such a great time on the beach together during our recent trip:  hunting for shells, laughing at the antics of the dogs chasing seagulls on the beach, giggling at the funny little sandpipers, and trying to spot dolphins as they appeared and disappeared in the waves closer to shore.  It was wonderful.

Reconnecting is always nice. 

Being able to do so away from the day-to-day rushing is so much better.  Not having a myriad of distractions and an endless "to do" list of things that need to be done right now lurking in the background makes having those longer conversations or quiet walks along the shore or in a nature preserve or any number of other wonderful things we were able to do while we were away so much more meaningful on so many levels.

It got me thinking about how we might better do that on a weekly basis at home as well.

As she grows into her pre-teen status, we need to have more quality time together and not just be running from one place to the next on an endless treadmill of crap that needs to be done.  Sadly, that is often how things feel and I'm struggling to come up with ways to mitigate that.

One thing I'm thinking about is making our weekly routines a little more streamlined, and building in a family night or two for a sit-down movie or games or puzzles...something we all do together that is fun and allows for decompressing and time together.

We are a really close family, lots of love in our household as well as support for each other.  I want to make sure that our not-so-wee-any-longer girlie knows that we will always, always be there in that same way, no matter how big she gets.  But I also want her to know how proud we are of the young lady she is becoming, of how her confidence is growing and how she stands so independently on her own two feet with so much common sense about right and wrong just innate in her thought processes.

Raising a child into a high quality adult is not an easy task.  I only hope we are doing everything we can to get her there in a way that empowers her own decision making and confidence in her own internal compass. 

It feels like we are doing what we can to make that happen.  But the proof will, I suspect, be in how things are 20 years down the road.  How can you know if you are doing the right things as a parent?  The answer may well be that you can't.  But that doesn't absolve me from thinking about it and trying to do better.

During the course of our trip, I thought a lot about all of this because I spent so much time with The Peanut every single day.  We both did, and we both  enjoyed that time immensely, soaking it in as much as we could knowing that as she grows older, she'll naturally have less time for us to make more time for her friends and activities.  And that has to be okay:  it is part of growing up, to separate yourself gradually to become your own person instead of just an extension of your parents.

But that doesn't mean I won't miss those walks on the beach with that precious little hand in my own when the time comes.  Hopefully, there will always be a place for that.

(Photos by Christy Hardin Smith.  All rights reserved.)

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