Cutting the cord - one snip at a time

I'm watching the back of my son as he rides away from me. I can see him wobble a little on his bike, but the training wheels take up the slack. He starts to turn the corner and he suddenly looks very little to me. He picks up speed, as he heads down the block. He races by the fence, and is now out of my eyesight.

He is gone.

And now I wait. I wait in that "trying to look busy" way that I have when I'm putting on a brave face. I straighten up things in the garage with my husband, putting things away neatly on our shelves. But internally, I am a mess. Should I count? How many seconds does it take for my son to reach the STOP sign, turn around and come back? Why can't I hear him? I mean, he is always talking, why would he stop now when I actually want to hear his voice more than anything?

There are rules to his solo bike riding, of course, and he can recite them. He is allowed to ride to the STOP sign and back on his own. He is allowed to go down our block, around the cul-de-sac and back unsupervised. Basically, he can cycle in places he doesn't have to cross streets by himself.

But this is deeply hard for me - this letting go. This watching him go around the corner and out of my sight line. In a minute, I know he'll come flying by the house in the other direction, but until then, I am a mess. There is a cobweb of worries in my head: What if he falls? What if he stops to talk to strangers and forgets our rules? What if he decides to keep going and leaves me for good?

My husband is less anxious than me, as he designated our son's boundaries and the solo rides long before I was on board with this project.

Just as I'm about to visibly lose my Mom cool and peer over the corner to see where he is, he comes flying down the sidewalk with an outrageously large grin on his face. He yells out to me, "Watch this, Mommy!" and he goes in the other direction. I love his smile, his enthusiasm. And I know I am doing the right thing - widening his boundaries and letting him explore a bit more of his world.

But, I'll still worry.

What's hard for you to let go of as a parent? Tell me in the comments.

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