A tiny little drama

After finishing off the illustration yesterday I packed up a freshly snoozed and slightly dazed Amelia into the car and dashed off to a playground to meet up with Suzette and the kids. Suzette was still feeling pretty shaken from her awful morning and after hearing more of the details I started to feel that weird panicky paranoia I sometimes get where I just want to grab Amelia and hold her as close to me as possible and never let anything happen to her EVER. But here I was in a playground watching her totter (and she really does still totter – that’s not just me being paranoid) madly about desperately trying to keep up with Oskar who tears (and boy does he tear!) around the place with all that amazing confidence of a three year old. She would stagger wildly up steep ramps, perch absentmindedly at the top of slippery-slides, and teeter precariously on high platforms with big gaps in the railings where she could easily take a clumsy step backwards and aaargh! eee! ooooh…. So you can clearly see what kind of mood I was in. This resulted in me running around after her, scrambling through tiny tunnels and leaping towards her ready to grab her chubby arm at any moment.
Oskar ignored her for a while despite her insistence on following him around but then, while the three of us sat at the top of a steep (really bloody steep and windy and crazy – oh yes) looking slide, he became intrigued to see if he could entice her down with him – much to my chagrin. “Melia wanna slide with Oskar?” He asked hopefully and luckily (for my nerves) she said “NO!” which he graciously accepted.

For a little while after this they booted around together and Oskar was patient enough to answer all of Amelia’s “Was that?”s and finally, the next time he asked “Melia wanna slide with Oskar?” she shouted “YEAH!” and before I could stop her they started off down the slide together. At the last moment I grabbed her and at least made sure she was going down on her tummy (so she would avoid slipping backwards and bumping her rather large head as she has done before) and for some reason I just couldn’t let go. Oskar was hanging on to her legs and I had her arms and she was slowly descending down the slide and I still couldn’t let go.

My obvious anxiety attracted the attention of a kind grandpa who was playing with his grandson nearby and he came rushing over to save them from I’m not sure what and Suze and Jasmine were down at the bottom looking up at us too… and I realised the complete disproportionate drama I was creating but I still couldn’t let go. And finally it was Amelia’s expression looking up at me – that of complete ease and complete joy to be going down the slide with Oskar -that let me let her go. I could tell she was a bit puzzled as to what my fussing was about and was thinking that perhaps it was part of the game but there was no fear there at all (of course) so I just let go of her tiny little hands. Within two seconds they were at the bottom of the slide completely fine and laughing (of course).

I remember once reading something somewhere – and I really wish I could remember where – that said that being a parent was all about letting go, right from the very beginning. And I know this, and I believe it with my whole heart but boy it’s a tough one!

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20 Responses

  1. That’s a poignant story! The illustration conveys your fear, the HUGE slide and your daughter’s ease perfectly.I can imagaine how hard it must have been to let go, but the great thing is that you took the cue from Amelia J:
    “I’ll be alright Mum!”

    My mom had a quote on her dressing table mirror when I was a kid..something about how you have to know when to hold on to the kite string, and when to let go to let the kite soar. I was aware of how hard it was for her to let go..but she’s done it and I’m grateful. I’m alright.. and she is too!!

  2. Oh I can totally relate, I’ve felt that feeling many many times 🙂 Beautiful illustration as always!

  3. grace@enterwhining.com says:

    Well, certainly it’s better to hold on too long than to let go too soon.

  4. I tend to agree with Grace, but once they are 30 and STILL expecting you to cook and wah for them…well that IS too long! *grin* When I am with the children in their “active exploration mode” (99% of their usual behavioural status) I often feel a bundle of nerves. It was worse with our first, but I still have my moments with the youngest one. I think something that accentuates my nerves and “accident paranoia” is that I actually work in an Emergency department, so I know the kind of things that can happen to children. More strength to you in the hardest job of all, that of being a parent. (Thankfully it’s usually one of the most rewarding jobs also)

  5. That illustration is perfect! Reading your story then scrolling down to see it made me laugh so much. I love the little tiny people at the bottom.

  6. Good illustration! I like it when you put a little depth in.

  7. thanks for the sweet story. i am at work with tears in my eyes. it is so hard to let go, but, she’ll thank you for it. : ^ )
    p.s. she is soooooo adorable. i love the hair!!

  8. specialk_7523@yahoo.com says:

    It has been said that to have a child is to let your heart wonder outside of your body. While it may be hard to let go your little Amelia will be stronger for it and later realize that your support will help her through her future challenges.Enjoying your blog in Toronto, Canada.

  9. that is so true! your words and illustration fit perfectly. i remember instances when my parents let go and the same look was in their eyes.

  10. enuwyteo@yahoo.com says:

    That’s a great illo to go with a great story! Which is very reminiscent of Finding Nemo actually – the part where Dory tells Marlin that he has to let go…. and he literally does….

  11. tim@o2b.net says:

    I don’t remember where I heard this, but if you never let anything happen to them, then nothing will ever happen to them.

  12. I know exactly how you felt while not wanting to let go of Amelia; I have had moments like that with both of my daughters! Letting them go like that — letting them grow up — it is by far one of the most difficult tasks of being a parent!
    “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots. The other is wings.” — Hodding Carter, Jr.

    By the way, your illustrations are so great, and they are always such a great compliment to your writings! Your site has been one of my regular reads for a few months now, and coincidentally I just started to knit, too! Looking forward to seeing what you create 🙂

  13. yep, finding nemo. dory says to marlin that if he doesnt ever let anything happen to nemo, then nothing will ever happen to him. and then he lets go and ends up in the whales tummy, yeeha!you are amazing

  14. Ahhh… I new my story had Disney Pixar all over it! But the actual letting go from the moment they are born came from somewhere else, not Marlin… still can’t remember

  15. katrina@coolatai.com says:

    letting go of them is so hard, but you have to let them make some mistakes all on their own. the trick is to create a safe environment in which to let them do that : )

  16. Saw a piece on Enough Rope the other night about a legally blind girl who ski jumps. Her doctor told her mother to “look the other way.”

  17. Never has a blog entry had so much resonance with me. I find myself being the eternal “shadow” to our little Ava while she goes to the playground. At times I feel I need to be there, but mostly it’s based out of fear. And it’s so hard to let them go and be honest-to-goodness kids. Very hard.
    I’ve likened my connection to Ava as this: there is an invisible thread that connects us. Whenever she’s on the playground, running around in the store, walking down the sidewalk with me, etc. it’s there, from me to her. But whenever I lose sight of her, it’s as if that thread has snapped and I can’t bring her back. Where did she go? Panic ensues and I go hysterical. But alas, all is well. She’s just around the corner, or the like. I hate being so panicky about things like that, but then you read hear see the news casts about the latest child abduction or atrocity, it’s kind of hard not to.

    But in order for kids to grow we ourselves as parents have to as well. And that’s the hardest lesson to learn.

  18. I just loved this story and the illustration you’ve done for it .
    Magical *S*

  19. smellebelle@yahoo.com says:

    ohhh, for some reason your story made me cry.