7 October 2010

Small Freedoms

 When you are six years old, it is a really big deal to be trusted to wash up the breakfast dishes when you ask if you can do anything to help.  It is an even bigger deal if nobody comments on the excessive use of dishsoap and the rather wet bubbly kitchen floor.  A stack of bowls and glasses equals a huge sense of achievement.  And mama does not insult her by washing them again, but only gives her a hug and thanks her, and rinses them before use.
When you are three years old, being told, "you can finish kneading this if you want to, just put it back in the bowl when you're done" is a really big deal.  It is the first thing you will tell Daddy when he gets home.  It is the first thing you will tell the postman when a parcel arrives.  "I made the bread all on mine self!"  Yes, yes you did.

When you are six, you might even begin to be allowed to use the kettle.  Making a cup of tea all on your own is a grown up thing to do.  And taking your first solitary walks to the corner shop?  This is a sign nobody can deny, you are trusted and able to take care of yourself in so many ways.  The corner shop seems suddenly further than just around the end of the street, and even without any roads to cross it feels like a huge milestone for her and for me.

Mama panics slightly at the idea of every one of these things.  But bit by bit, they come.  Times for letting go and taking stock.  Times for evaluating how far their independance may safely take them, before the time comes that they begin to feel caged.  And as they show me that they CAN, that they ARE, mama starts to look for other ways in which she can gift her children with trusts both large and small.  We are growing, not apart, but up.


  1. You truly are a wonderful Mama Sarah! This post had me smiling all the way through at the love you are showing your daughters by allowing their independance to flourish.


  2. This is so true. Ryan tried to help me do the washing today and, for the second time, pulled out the whole washing detergent drawer with all the cleaning products in it, all over himself. He was so distressed by this, even after I cleaned it all up he'd spot a clump of powder on the floor and start to cry again :( This is the second time this has happened and I have decided that next time I will let him put the washing powder in by himself, which would seem to most, I'd guess, to be the opposite of what I should do! But makes more sense to me. Poor baby, he was only trying to help!

    Amy (foreversomeday) x

  3. I love the way you educate your girls! I want to be a mama like you... some day, kids of my own will come! :o)


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