Love and Nudge (Fostering independence, Feeling powerful)

Yesterday afternoon, I took my girl and some friends her age to the beach. At one point, she ran off on her own to get her goggles. I watched from the ocean as she scurried far away, alone, back to our pile of items on the beach. It occurred to me that she was operating quite fearlessly on her own in the world, as, in the past, she would have surely wanted me to accompany her. The fact that she meandered back this great distance showed her comfort. I swelled with pride while I kept my eye on her the whole time.

In the evening, after dining out, we stopped at Trader Joe’s. Once in the car, I realized I’d forgotten a chocolate gift for a friend. It seemed like a good opportunity to do what I have always done- nudge her. “Honey, would you go in and get them?” She gave me an anxious look. “Come on, you can do it. They’ll help you figure out the money. It should be about $17 in change. You can do it.” Off she went.

From the car, I watched her in the checkout line, bouncing up and down like she was in the queue at Disney World. Five minutes later, she bounded back to the car. We high-fived. “You did it! I’m proud of you.” She smiled and replied, “I guess I’m okay with adults now.” In the past, she would get shy with adults with greetings.

Little steps.
Love and nudge.
Love and nudge.

As a parent, sometimes, I find I’m nudging too much. Other times, I’m not doing so enough. There is no science to it. I just try to meet her where she is while taking a stand for her next level. Deep-down, she really does want precisely both.

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