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.