Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Fine Line...

Henry loves his stroller.  It's not really his but he has taken ownership of it anyway.  If he feels like it he'll share it with Ava & Ella, but that sharing time comes far and few between.  If he's playing with something else and one of his sisters gets a hold of the stroller the screaming begins and the tantrum ensues...not a pretty sight.  Such loud noises from such a little guy!

Today, Henry was outside as I watered some grass in the front.  When I was finished he indicated that he wanted to go on a walk.  He was wearing his Native American outfit and yes, pushing his pink stroller.

He wanted to stay about 10 feet in front of me.  He wanted control of the walk.  Every 50 feet or so he would stop and look back to make sure I was there.  He'd turn around and walk toward me, get even with me and continue on our walk.  Within 5 feet he would begin his 10 foot lead on me and the whole thing would start all over.  Not only did he want control, he wanted independence...yet he struggled with letting go.  

It's a fine line between dependence and independence.

When kids first enter our lives they depend on us for everything.

Love, food, shelter, cleanliness, and more.

They grow.  And as they grow they seemingly depend on us less and less. Sometimes this independence is welcome, other times it saddens us, for we feel we are "losing our babies".

Each time Henry came back to me I extended my hand and touched his head; he leaned into this touch and then proceeded on his merry way.  This happened a number of times throughout our walk.  I felt close to Henry...just a dad and his boy on a walk.  We didn't speak. We just walked.  

I thought of how he kept coming back to me.  In life, I know he will come back to me when he needs or wants something.  When he is happy, sad, frustrated, angry, in love, or just wanting some company.  I also know that the time between those times will grow longer and longer as he gets older and older.

Watching him walk with such independence, I wondered where life would take my boy; or better yet, where he would take his life.  Seeing him so happy as he cruised in his world, I experienced an overwhelming feeling that I had to keep him protected.  These feelings are what memories are made of.  

Henry and I could and probably will take hundreds of walks together in my lifetime...this one, however, can never be duplicated...it was our walk~initiated by Henry & led by Henry.  It was in this 20 minute walk that I truly realized that my son will strike out on his own someday. 

As he turned to me on our walk to make sure I was there, and as he returned to my side to walk with me for a while, I also realized that my role as a father carries with it everything that has to do with what makes up our lives~~Love.

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