We Are Family


Growing up.

Growing up. - Jake Lorefice 416824 Unsplash

I left my nearly 10 year old daughter at home, on her own, for the first time last week.

 I knew she was tired and that a 10 minute walk to collect her sister from a local playdate would be met with moaning and groaning, so I gave her the option of staying at home whilst I popped out.  I was pretty sure she’d be fine - it was the middle of the afternoon, she knows how to use the phone and she’s a sensible girl.  What I wasn’t sure about was her reaction.  However, she met my suggestion with positive excitement and glee - after all, it meant she could watch The Commonwealth Games uninterrupted by me or her sister for a whole 10 minutes!

 But hang on a minute… where was my clingy little girl who wouldn’t go into another room alone for the first 5 years of living with us?  Where was the nervous child that constantly clutched my hand whenever we went out?  Where was the girl who had so much anxiety about being on her own that she’d rather wet herself than go to the toilet?

 Well, she’s still there, but there’s another little girl that’s emerging. A stronger, more confident, wiser, more resilient person who is starting to know her own mind, to understand her own needs and wants, to be more dependent on herself and less reliant on others.  A girl who trusts that the people who love her will come back to her.  A girl who trusts herself and who’s starting to trust that life is good.

 I know plenty of children who are left alone from a much earlier age and for longer than 10 minutes, and that it’s all part of growing up and becoming independent.  It seems such a small thing, but honestly, for years I couldn’t ever imagine leaving her in the house alone (at any age!).  It happened suddenly and unexpectedly.  A part of me doesn’t really like it - my little girl growing up and not needing me so much any more - but a much, much bigger part of me is incredibly happy and incredibly proud of her!

 I realise of course that this may be a one-off and it might not happen again for another 10 years (or at least not until the next Commonwealth Games), so I’m not planning any spa days anytime soon!

unsplash-logoJake Lorefice

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  • MM

    Your blog made me realise how hypocritical we can be, I was immediately judging you and was concerned that your still 9 year old was left alone and thought how inappropriate that was, however I then realised that since September (when his brother changed schools) our still 10 year old son has walked to and from school alone and that this was a decision based on his desire to do so (other friends had started to), the security of it being through a busy park and the fact that we assessed that he was responsible enough to be doing so, in addition we felt that it was a big and positive step towards him being more independent.
    We too were seeing a more ‘grown up’ child.
    Thanks for sharing and allowing yourself to be judged and I hope that others have experiences (maybe of their own childhood), that also stop them being hypocritical and judgemental.

  • Anon

    Yes, I remember the days when my son wouldn't leave me, even for a minute, as well. Standing I the playground with a kid glued to my body I wondered when (sometimes even if!) I would get my body back. Now my 6yo also asks to so stuff on his own. And it feel momentous.
    Thank you for sharing. I think with adoption optics on, it feels all the more special perhaps...

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