Freedom in Attachment

July 10, 2014

Early in my parenting a wise woman told me: “if you meet your child’s dependency needs she can grow independent easily.” Those words echoed in my head every challenging and every joyous and every ordinary step of the way.

Last week all three of our children went to sleep-away camp together. And basically sent us off.photo

Rob and I left earlier than we had planned as Finn asked us to leave after he met his counselors and his bunk mates. The older two have been going to this camp for some time but this is the first time they are all together. Typically we linger enjoying a communal lunch with the other families but not this year.

We sat on the hill outside the cabin where Phoebe is a counselor having patchwork conversations between new campers coming in and meeting her.

We spied Chloe as she and a friend high-fived in celebration of having their parents depart pre-lunch – ah, freedom!

As we pulled away on the gravelly road and left behind the scents of fresh grass and summer we felt a sense of accomplishment and freedom – if only temporary. We were brought back to our twenties being young and in love with little responsibility. We wondered if we had time to stop at a bike shop in Western Massachusetts or where we could stop for lunch that would accommodate a family of five with different needs and tastes. Then we laughed out loud. “We can do whatever we want!”

We both took the week off from work. We laughed. We held hands. We stopped for lunch at an old diner. It didn’t matter what time we got home.

I had conversations with two different moms who are in the thick of parenting young children. It was nice to share the outcomes of committing your attention to your children. I recall the intensity of young children and their physical and emotional needs. There were days when I wondered if I would ever be my own person, if I would ever sleep without someone attached to my breast or without getting kicked in the face. I wondered if I would ever need to stop buying tissues for snotty noses and if I would ever stop changing diapers. I wondered if I was doing the right thing in my mothering.

All along I kept trusting my instincts and blocked out the noise of all those voices: “when are going to wean that kid?” “how can you let that baby sleep in your bed?” “are you still carrying that kid?” “you are coddling that kid” “that child will never learn to sleep on his own” and on and on.

 

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Our children are confident young people. They sleep on their own, they weaned and I no longer carry them – two of them are bigger than I am! They do love to cuddle though and that is an amazing gift when a thirteen year old wants to cuddle!

Of course we miss them. I had my neighbors little boys give me extra hugs because I longed for my little Finn who, like a koala, likes to hang on me, who holds my hand crossing streets. I miss the texts from Chloe, her lanky body hugging me and her giggle as she looks down on me because she has a couple of inches over me. I miss Phoebe’s beautiful smile and her joyous shout of “Mama!” when she sees me.

Ah, but not to have to worry who needs a bath! This freedom is so sweet because it is finite. After four weeks it is all hugs, cuddles and conflict about who needs a bath, when to go to bed, what to make for dinner.

For now, instead of date night Rob and I are having date month!

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