We went to the market on Saturday. It was so busy that we had trouble finding a parking spot. Trying not to take too long because we had a busy day, we weaved through the crowd to check out what was available. There was so much tantalizing food to choose from. We bought some raspberries, corn, zucchini, and beans. We decided to try kohlrabi (I mean I decided, as my daughter would prefer to sample berries or baking).
As I was paying for a container of raspberries my daughter tripped and fell. I glanced at her, down on the ground, to see if she was crying. She was fine and so I turned and grabbed my bag. I looked back.
And she was gone.
It took a second for me to worry as she is always close by. When we first arrive she wants to be in my safe arms. But it didn't appear to be that way at this incident. I looked around. Checked the booths next to where she was. No sign of her purple shirt and red hair. I started to panic. There were so many people. I ran my belongings over to my mother-in-law's booth and threw them down. I then scoured the crowd. For a moment I was terrified that she really was gone. My heart raced and I felt like I was going to panic. A vendor asked for her description and I was so glad I could recall what she was wearing.
And then there she was. Just wandering through a booth. Not disconcerted at all that I was not around. Wandering free like an un-supervised child. Not a care in the world. She was testing out her independence and enjoying her liberated venture.
I am not sure I am liking this new found desire for autonomy. I don't mind her trying to do things on her own. I don't mind her push to make decisions. But wandering off! That is not going to work with me!
I pride myself in my growth. My life used to be overwrought with fear. I was extremely grateful to enter motherhood with a toned down sensitivity to germs and dangers. If I were a young mother I would have been a crazy mother. I still have my moments that are driven by my desire to see my daughter develop into a healthy, confident, responsible, loving woman. I worry about the food she consumes and the chemicals I use in the home. I dislike my husband and myself handling her with our work clothes still on. I think too much about what could harm her. I just plain think too much.
But even with the fears I have left behind and the ability to see things as a bigger picture, I think this stage is going to be difficult. I am not enjoying the running the other way. I am not looking foreword to the hiding under the clothes racks. But I assume, like any other stage, it will seem overwhelming at first and then motherly instinct will kick in and I will learn to adapt and before I know it we will be passed the challenge and on to the next one.
Until then, it is time to be diligent. The next time we are in a crowd she will be in my arms or my eyes will be on her. I'll ask her to help me pay for our purchases. I can see why some moms use some sort of leash to keep themselves attached to their child. Their baby. Their world. Sometimes life requires your attention for a moment. A moment is all it takes.