And yet...here I am, four and a half years and three kids later. And I hover. And fret.
I've even been called, on a handful of occasions, "controlling". Me! And the sad part is, it's true. I admit it. I am somewhat of a control freak, and it is a struggle I contend with every day. I so desperately wish for my kids to enjoy the carefree childhood I fondly recall from my youth, but at the same time, my mind is plagued with the worry of so many unimaginable "what if's...". I know that I will never be able to protect my kids from all harm, but I sure try.
Today was a lesson in self-discipline on my part as I turned the kids loose in the back yard and watched from a safe distance from inside the house, where I was entertaining a fussy, teething Meghan. The kids were beside themselves, free to play outside in the fresh air without an interfering mother, splashing in the sprinkler without a constant barrage of "No!" or "Stop!" or "Be careful!".
I learned a lot today, about myself and about my kids. I learned that it's O.K. to let go just a little...and that, given enough time, they'll come racing back to me, laughing and happy.