“There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I first heard this quote while listening to the audiobook for How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims.
Since then, the idea that my role in Little Dude’s life is to provide roots and wings has helped shape my parenting style.
For me, roots are easy to provide: I grow them each time I give snuggles and kisses, provide a hot meal, or do anything else to strengthen our family dynamic.
It is much, much harder to grow wings because doing so requires me to relinquish some control.
For nine months, Little Dude and I went everywhere together – meetings at the office, shopping, the gym – so it’s only natural to want to continue that relationship. However, the best thing I can do for my Little Dude is to help him grow his wings while he’s young, so they’ll be big and strong when he needs to use them.
Sometimes, they grow while he’s making awesome memories with Mommy and Daddy. Sometimes, they need to keep growing without me. In those moments, I practice letting go.
Granted, I don’t need to relinquish all control. I am still Mommy, and I appreciate the chance to choose who gets the honor of helping Little Dude grow his wings. Growth should not be a free-for-all, but a chance to carefully curate opporunities.
Which is why last Friday I packed Little Dude’s bags and sent him to a theme park with his aunt and uncle while I went to the office.
Our roots run deep, but it’s getting easier to accept that even when I can’t be there for him, the world is opening up before him and presenting new wonders.
I can’t wait to see where they take him!
Do you do anything to practice building wings?