On Raising Miss Independence

When did these kids of mine start growing up?

I admittedly couldn’t wait to get through the baby stage (a colicky, sleepless newborn will do that do you) but now that they are fun and thriving, I want to put the brakes on this whole growing up thing. Everywhere he goes, Bode sings and always has a smile on his face while Hadley’s growing self-confidence in her school work is making her happy and agreeable.

They are ready to start flexing their wings and I’m straining to give them more independence but it’s tough, even for a non-helicopter parent like me.

When we were in the mountains at YMCA of the Rockies last winter, we drove past their summer camp facility, Camp Chief Ouray. I described it to the kids–five days of new friendships, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, rope courses, field games, firesides, skits and more. They thought it sounded like the coolest thing ever and judging from the camp’s active alumni community and the fact it’s almost sold out, it is.

A couple of years ago, Hadley took her first solo flight to see Grandma in Utah and we’ve been promising Bode the chance to do the same thing. So, when we found out he needed to be 7 to go to camp (he’s a month shy), we decided to book him a flight.

Neither of my kids have ever been the hang-on-my-leg-begging-me-not-to-go types. Bode was more clingy when he was younger but now, they’re up for pretty much any adventure, anytime. And I’m so relieved they’re courageous and thriving.  (If you’re a helicopter-type, read this article about why playing and “helping” them actually hinders their creativity and development).

But sometimes I think I’ve done too good of a job of raising them to be independent.

I recently registered Hadley for Camp Chief Ouray and paid $175 for the additional horse camp option. She’s obsessed with learning to ride, lessons are expensive and the more affordable programs like Westernaires require parent volunteers to do menial tasks like mucking out stalls.

HELL, NO. (Can you tell I’m not a fan of horses?)

She was literally bouncing off the wall when I told her she was confirmed for horse camp and fired questions at me a million miles a minute. I was jealous and happy for her–I was a big fan of the Parent Trap and always wanted to go to camp as a kid. And then I got worried. Would she be OK? Would she miss us at all?

“Hadley, you’re not going to be homesick, are you?”

“Don’t worry about it, Mom. I’ll forget about you.”

She’ll never be mistaken for the sentimental type.




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