The calendar still read "April", but Saturday was a sneak peek into summer. The air was warm as the sun beat down on the three of us as we arrived at the "sandy park"- the one with sand on the ground by the playground equipment. My son, Alex, inching closer to seven and my daughter, Megan, newly four, took off their sandals and ran to play.
It occurred to me, for the first time ever, that I could watch them from the bench. They could easily navigate this playground and I didn't need to be right next to them. Alex has been independent for a while, but I've been trailing Megan up till now. I took a seat on the bench and watched them play.
Then it happened again, on Sunday. Megan was able to play in the basement, on her own, with me upstairs in the kitchen. Alex was on the computer- also fine without me right near him. I was able to cook and prepare some food for the week ahead while everyone was happily occupied. Astounding.
For so long, I needed to sit on the floor right next to them, or hold hands as stairs were climbed on the playground. I was urgently needed. And like everything in life, that comes with pros and cons. Being urgently needed means you are at the center of your child's life but it leaves you out of your own life a bit. Now that my children can do more for themselves and by themselves, they need me less urgently and I've rediscovered at least part of the day that can be for me.
This weekend, that extra time meant I reorganized a tupperware shelf that had become a sea of mismatched lids and old, unfitting bottoms. I made the shelf neater and organized, tossing what no longer was useful. When I need a container, I will save time and frustration. Win!
I'm really okay with being on the bench.