You are not even four-years-old yet, but already you've learned so many things: How to walk, talk, use the bathroom, sing, play with friends, make pb&j sandwiches, ride a bike and so much more. And I know that you have plenty of other things to learn between now and the time you will leave me for college.
Yes, I know I just said "college." I am aware that college is many years away. Do I expect you to college? Yes, absolutely. I want you to have an excellent education even though the price of tuition by the time you will be ready to go frightens me immeasurably. (But, you are completely worth it, and I am preparing to pay for a share of your education now.) Even if you put it off for a few years and want to travel the world or something first, I will still encourage you to go. But I will stop at "encouragement."
You see, I will not force you to go, because by that point in your life you will be an adult. And as an adult, you should be capable of making your own decisions by then. If you can't, then I feel as though I will have failed you as a parent. I see lots of stories of helicopter parents following their children to college and then even to the workplace, and that honestly scares me. (Parents calling professors about grades and talking to HR at prospective companies? Yikes!)
Part of letting you grow up is letting you fail, letting you learn the consequence of your own decisions and teaching you how to think through choices before you make them. By the time you get to adulthood, hopefully you won't need me anymore (but, just for the record, I'll still be around to support you - I am your mother, after all.)
I know that we've already started this process: You decide what you want to wear to school every day, you decide between lunch choices, you choose your next activity. And in the years to come I am going to continue to give you more choices, more freedom and more responsibilities. It won't be easy (for either of us), but it is something I am promising you know: I'm going to learn to let you go a little. It's something my mother did for me (thanks, Mom), and it's something I can do for you.
I love you, and because of that, I am letting you go a little every day so you can become your own person: One choice at a time.
Background image by Shawn Campbell