This morning in the car, Paolo asked to walk to school by himself. He explained that he had seen other kids walking by themselves and wanted to do it himself, too. After all, he is in Kindergarten. But those are bigger kids walking without their parents, I protested. Not true, he replied. He has seen his good friend Lily on her own, and she’s in his class. I took a few deep breaths while his request for independence shaved little pieces off my heart. “How about I walk you to the front door, and you walk all the way to your classroom by yourself?” He agreed we had a deal.
As I escorted him to the building, I reminded him to hang up his coat and backpack and stow his lunchbox once he got to his room. He silently let me ramble on, for once not snapping that he KNOWS. It’s not that I thought for a moment he might get lost or forget any step of the routine he’s been performing since August. It’s just that I wanted to do it with him, no, FOR him. I like to see him seated, settled, safe before I walk away from him. Then I realized, those small gestures of mine, I’ve been making them for me. But letting go, this is what I’m doing for him.