I’m a little slow on the uptake.  Yesterday it occurred to me that we have spent the last sixteen years carefully constructing scaffolding around our children, trying to raise them smartly, lovingly, safely.  And now, now that we are enjoying those revelatory moments in which they think things through, do the right thing, ask good questions, and fall in love with the outside world, we must watch them dismantle that structure that we built so carefully, and sometimes have an active role in taking it down around them.  I held on to a conceit that I could supply guidance and instill confidence when they need it, but now I see so clearly that there are steps – lots of them – they have to take beyond my view and that those steps include tasks I looked forward to doing myself that I must now entrust to others.  I knew that the process of building independence would be easier in different ways for each of my children, but I’m starting to realize that the person I need to build independence for is me.

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