When Anna was little we had a dear friend who shared with me some wisdom I have held on to. She shared that a parents responsibility was to teach their children to be independent of them from day one. That our little beings were their own independent little souls and that independence needed to be nurtured. As parents you love your children, take care of them and develop a strong bond, all with the knowledge that one day they will start walking on their own, have their own thoughts and dreams and be their own person.
At first, I didn’t want this advice. My reality as a single mom was that Anna, at a young age, was going to be spending time away from me when she was with her dad. It didn’t seem natural at all and I had a lot of anxiety about it. When the time came for Anna to be with her dad overnight I really embraced what my friend had shared with me. I came to realize and accept that this time apart would only strengthen our relationship and would allow her to really be her own person. Anna was flexible, able to adjust to most situations, confident and definitely independent at the age of 6. Sometimes when she was away I would day-dream about her life in the future and what an amazing human being she was and was going to be because of her circumstances. She had so many people who loved her and nurtured her independence. She was very fortunate.
Not too long ago Anna came home from her dad’s house after a long weekend and asked me what I would do if she was gone with her dad for 100 days.
At first, I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer because in all the co-parenting books I’ve read it often says that you shouldn’t inject your child with guilt when they are with the other parent. “I’ll miss you until you come home,” or “please don’t leave me” are all statements that you try to avoid. You want your child to know that you love them unconditionally, that you will be there when they get back and it’s okay for them to have fun while they are gone ~ free of any guilt.
So, when Anna came home asking what I would do if she was gone for 100 days I took a deep breath and said, “that will never happen because my heart would ache without you.” Maybe not the right thing to say but I couldn’t imagine her being gone for that long. I was very curious and asked her why she wanted to know. With a little smirk on her face, she said, “just wondering, I would never be able to be away from you either for 100 days.”
Today I am thinking about that little smirk on Anna’s face, testing me and wondering what my response would be. I’m thinking about the advise I got from a wise friend so many years ago. I’m thinking about my independent little girl who could be away from her Mama. I’m thinking about how my heart would hurt sometimes when she was away and the peace that would fill it knowing she was her own person. I’m thinking about and cherishing the amazing hug I would always receive after being apart for any length of time.
Today marks 100 days that Anna and Abigail have been in Heaven. In a million years I would have never thought I could be away from my girls for this long. Knowing that both of my girls are independent, strong, confident and courageous helps me know that they are okay in Heaven without their mama. They are my role models now and I can only hope that I can be as independent, strong, confident and courageous as them for the rest of my days here on earth.
And I was right, my heart does ache.