"For goodness sake, leave him with me, he will be fine and he has to learn that when you go, you always come back." Words of wisdom from my little sister. I avoid leaving child 4 with anyone except at nursery, not because I don't trust people but because I know that he is hard work and in truth I don't want him to worry. He does need to be with us but my sister is right he also has to learn that people come back, people keep their promises, people can love and be loved. He needs to experience what child 1,2 & 3 have all experienced, they know I will come home, they know that I will always be there to help them and they know that the love I have is unconditional as that is all they have ever experienced.
This holiday has really helped me with the letting go, just a little bit. I no longer hover or keep him close. Child 4 has the freedom to explore within the confines of our mill. He spends time with everyone chatting, investigating, especially the eating habits of ants - they are fascinating all the crumbs we drop tempt them out from their homes where they gather together to take their exciting, delicious finds home, child 4 has been so fascinated that yesterday he intentionally emptied the last crumbs from a crisp packet over the golf so he could watch what they did. Sorry got a bit sidetracked. Everyone here is so patient with him and obviously enjoy his company. I have never been precious with my children, I have always understood and accepted that often someone else can help them achieve a success in something purely because they are not their parent, however with child 4 I have found this a little harder, perhaps because he is still so new, one mum from the playground was very insightful, when I turned down her offer to have child 4 over to give me a break. She just laughed and said, well I guess I wouldn't let my six month old baby out of my sight.
Interestingly though I was surprised that when one of the other mums gradually introduced child 4 to the fun of the pool, he had refused to go in with me, there was no jealousy or concerns on my part, I was able to sit and watch him gradually become more confidant in the water, just a feeling of pride of watching my youngest son overcoming his fear and finding joy and laughter in this new experience. An experience of trust for both him and me.
It is so important for us parents to let our children go, they have to find their own way which means trying new things which inevitably means not necessarily achieving the desired results first time, just like learning to swim, which starts with paddling then using floats and armbands to striking out on your own. We cannot swim for them we can just teach them how to and if we can't we must find someone else who can. By letting them make their own choices, helping them to be brave enough to try, allowing them to make mistakes then helping them work out how to resolve those mistakes is the way we help them become the adults they can be. Child 4 and I are learning to let go a step at a time.