Even when you don't necessarily want it....
My sister and mother invited Jessica to go up camping with them this week. We've been camping forever at this one campground in Maine, it's right on the ocean, and most of my family goes up there. I'm not a camper, and neither is my cousin Becky, so for the past couple of years, we've been going up for half a week, and staying at my sister Aimee's house, which is about twenty minutes away.
Jessie left last Saturday, and I got up there on Wednesday afternoon. I've NEVER not had Jessie with me for more than one night. She's done the occasional sleepover, but only for one night, not ever for FOUR whole nights. And she was perfectly fine without me. She's LOVING it up there, I swear to God, she's taller. She's super confident, totally independent, and perfectly content up there. She didn't want to come back to sleep at my sister's house with me on Wednesday night, and didn't even consider coming home with me last night. We were joking that she may well just try to find another family when my sister comes home, so that she can just stay the whole summer up at Hermit Island ;-).
My kids are clingy. All three of them. They've all been renowned throughout the family as being especially attached to me, moreso than the average kid. And I indulge it, I rarely leave them, especially if they don't want me to go. I hold them all the time, nurse on demand, co-sleep, wear the baby. There have been times when even I think I'm crazy and too indulgent with the attachment, too quick to bring them along with me, and not force them to go off without me. But I can't stand to leave them crying, and have always felt like if they wanted to be with me that much, if possible, I let them.
And the results are... a beautiful, confident, independent seven year old, who's self reliant, perfectly behaved and so amazingly independent that Iwas totally taken aback. I expected her to cry and whine and fall apart once she saw me, to graft herself onto my leg and not ever want to leave. And it just didn't happen. She did sit on my lap, and she definitely missed me, but she didn't need me up there, and was more than happy to wave goodbye when I left and go back to enjoying her time at the beach. Everyone up there kept reassuring me that Jessica was the best behaved child up there, never whined, never fussed, was independent and happy and just an angel girl. She played well with everyone, could entertain herself just as easily alone.
I am so incredibly proud of her. So in awe of the girl that she's becoming - and just a tiny bit wistful... where did my baby go?