My heart leapt as I saw him round the corner. A carefree boy and his dog, my little man. The boy who no longer likes to hug his mom when she drops him off at before school care, the one who hates it when I tell him he'll always be my baby.
Tonight, we engaged in the timeless tug of war between parent and child. Him seeking independence, me seeing the toddler he was seemingly just yesterday. It was a beautiful evening in Suburbia, and Soccer Boy wanted to take our dog on a walk around the neighborhood by himself. Recently, Soccer Boy's responsibility and maturity levels have increased significantly. It was time to reward that, to recognize that he is growing up. So I said yes.
No matter how much I know that our neighborhood is a safe place, that the likelihood of abduction by a stranger is truly slim, I was unable to still my mind, that mother's heart, unable to relax until my fledgling returned to the nest. I finished the dishes; I started a load of laundry. And then, as the sky began to darken, I set out to find my boy and his trusty canine companion.
And I was rewarded, as I stepped beyond our yard, with the sight of Soccer Boy rounding the corner, our miniature dachshund scampering by his side. He was so proud of himself for taking on the challenge of walking the dog by himself. I was so proud of myself for allowing him to go, for letting him take one small step on the journey that will ultimately lead him much further than around the block. But tonight, I took advantage of the moment to hold Soccer Boy tight. Just for a few moments, holding tight while letting go.