Separation Anxiety? Have A Lemon Drop

I finally went on a much needed Girls Night Out (#GNO for you Twitterers) with a few new delightful friends. It was my reward for having been an excellent hostess during my mother-in-law's eight day visit. Even more rewarding, however, was the company of  eight like-minded  moms (and one dad, right BO?) who were also eager to share their  after-Christmas mother-in-law or kids' stories.

Contrary to what you're thinking, the conversation did not revolve around the Monster (ahem!) Mother In Law, but rather the other usual topic: disciplining our kids. Granted, I'm the one with the oldest children – yes, the oldest one, too – so I'm usually the one to offer the most advise, solicited or not.  One aspect we through back and forth was the issue of letting go and trusting our kids, and how gradual the process of earning this parental trust really is.

Take one mommy whose kids are allowed to roam around in front of her house on the sidewalk without a parent hovering over them; they are ages 7 and under. Another mommy whose kids are around the same age was adamant that her kids wouldn't be allowed out of her sight regardless of the distance. Yet, another mother was as cool as a cucumber when it came to allowing her kids to roam freely on their bikes, cycling to and from elementary school on their own. We discussed various forms of parenting ( in a lively Lemon-Drop-Martini-fuelled conversation), and then concluded that parents have different comfort levels when it comes to letting go.

Since I have an 18 year old, the ultimate stage of letting go for me is eminent: College! Nothing can prepare a parent, especially a mother, to cut the umbilical cord in one fell swoop; not the first day of school, or the first sleep over, or sleep-away camp. We discussed 6th grade camp as being  the ultimate heart-wrenching experience for some mommies.

The bottom line is, no matter what age your kids are, letting go, little by little or once and for all, is overwhelming and requires every ounce of emotional strength to get through it.

I actually kind of liked one mommy's solution to her separation anxiety when her child went off to 6th grade camp; she decided to  drive up the mountains every day to drop her daughter off and then pick her up in the evenings.

Hmmm…don't give me any ideas, please!

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