Sunday, September 16, 2012

Standing Alone






This darling 12-year-old of mine aches for independence.  I give her as much as I can, but she's always hungry for more and more and more!

I'll never forget the day her 4-year-old self sat across from me in her booster seat at the kitchen table and asked, "Mom, when can I get my own apartment?"

The hunger has only increased since then.

We went camping with our church congregation this weekend.  The campground was a wonderful group site that provided good boundaries for the kids while allowing them lots and lots of freedom within those boundaries.  I rarely knew where all of my children were at any given time, and as long as they checked in every once in a while we were all happy with that arrangement.

My E12 loved hanging out with the teens in the youth group.

Eventually I went to bed with the 3 littlest children while my husband stayed up as parent-on-duty for the 4 older ones.

Around midnight one of the teens said she was going to drive another pre-teen home and asked who wanted to come along.  According to my E12 all of the youth piled into the car but her.  She said, "I'll have to ask my mom and dad."  The kids in the car shrugged their shoulders and took off.

She felt abandoned.

Alone.

Outcast.

The kids in the car came back within minutes because the campground exit was closed for the night (I don't think they tried very hard to get out because the gate was not actually locked).  Everyone reconvened their singing/talking/hanging out around the campfire, and E12 was happily part of the group again.

When she finally decided to come to bed, she told her dad about what happened.  He took the opportunity to tell her she'd made a really good choice and thanked her for behaving responsibly.

I know nothing happened, but what were those kids thinking?

Her take on the event is to feel annoyed that she's so tied to her parents that she didn't get in the car.  She feels dependent and trapped.  She wishes we would stop bugging her and having so many rules for her to follow.  My take on the event is to feel proud of my girl for doing what she knew was right even though she felt alone.  I think she just took a big step toward independence.

I'm so glad she didn't get in that car.

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