Saturday, April 26, 2008

Branching outwards

There were days when she was five or six and wouldn't talk to anyone, and wouldn't peek out from behind my leg in public, when I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I knew she could cope if torn apart from me -- and she didn't wail and carry on, but just endured stoically. But she clearly wanted to stay home and comfortable and with family. Gradually she was able to join classes, to venture out away from home. Eventually she even started to talk a bit. But still she preferred an unadventurous life close to home and family. She liked our cozy safe little rural village where things were predictable and well-known.

Things are changing. Tomorrow she's heading off for the day to Nelson with an adult friend of the family and a couple of 18-year-old members of the community choir. She'll hang out, probably go for coffee, shop a bit, and then head to the church where she'll sing her heart out, and do a great job of her solo.

This summer she'll be heading to Edmonton, and then Montreal, flying without her parents, for a week in each location, being billeted, taking part in an advanced chamber music program with a bunch of teens she's never met. And she's thrilled to have been accepted (it was her first audition).

And next winter, she's considering taking two of her adult friends from choir up on an offer to accompany them on an 'in the rough' trip to southeast Asia for two months. I'm not sure she's feeling quite brave enough for that one, but she's at least seriously considering it.

In my heart of hearts I've always believed that filling kids' needs for attachment unquestioningly when they're young is what gives them the sense of security that is necessary when it comes time to be truly brave out in the real world as they forge lives for themselves. It gives them confidence in who they are and a touchstone they can hold onto as they venture forth.


  1. Great post, Miranda - thanks for that!

  2. That is encouraging as I have one more-attached-than-the-others child... and I occasionally reflect upon it with some mild concern.

  3. Beccy8:10 am

    I totally agree, although I didn't have to wait as long as you for vindication, and no-one today would believe my son was ever tied to my apron-strings (well, sling). Well done for your faith in her and attachment.

  4. Anonymous7:44 pm

    You are so right. My kids were ever so attached when they were younger. I have 2 that are now adult and don't live at home. My third one is planning on going to university next year in another province. Those of us who practice attachment parenting know it works.
    Independence and traveling come when they are ready and especially motivated, that is what happened with my older boys.
    Kudos to you for following your heart and good luck to your daughter:)

  5. Thank you Miranda! I have 2 girls (aged 11 and 6) who like to stick close and are very hesitant to try out new things unless they know the people and the place and that I'm there with them. It can be hard sometimes when others feel that its good for the children to separate when I know that they still need me close.


  6. Thank you so much for reaffirming what so many of us know ~ attached kids end up being more confident and resilent because their needs were met. We've endured years of others balking at our desire to be close to our kids. Thank god, we'd didn't listen and change our ways.

    And the results to date?

    Dd at 23 lives and works at Spruce Meadows in Calgary (we reside outside of Edmonton). She has also lived in Haines Junction in the Yukon and a stint in her own apartment in the "big city!" Independent but loves to come home to visit.

    Ds is 21 and just moved back to Edmonton after living in California, Mexico and Calgary for the last year. Did he move to our home? No, he wanted to have in own place in the "big city." See a pattern here.

    Ds is 19 and should be arriving home today after a two week exploration trip down to California (by car). Yesterday he was in Vancouver. He has plans to live abroad and spent some time in Italy last year.

    And our youngest turns 15 on Monday. She was perhaps our most attached but has really bloomed in the last year. The two of us went to a girl's empowerment retreat in Quebec last fall and before my eyes, my young child became a youth leader. The child who said she was going to live at home "forever" to take care of the daddy guy and me has declared that the only place she can get a true education as a chef is in Europe!

    Our noisy home is fast become an empty nest. But the feeling of pride that our kids, so attached and dependent, are making their way into the world as confident young adults makes the quiet moments well worth it.

    Blessings from another ap/homeschooling mama!


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