For the past several years I’ve been living the “do nothing, say nothing” philosophy of staying out of my daughters’ way whenever possible. That includes the “when in doubt, don’t say anything” approach, as well as the “when you feel the urge to help, wait at least 30 seconds” rule-of-thumb.
But I’ve never repeated that first solid week of completely stepping back…until now. Last week I went on a business trip and my girls, now ages 11, 13, and 15, were alone in the house for five days.
As I prepared for the trip, I felt grateful to PoT for showing me how to trust my kids and foster their independence. Because of that, leaving them alone didn’t seem like a big deal. I stocked up on groceries, taped a list of pet care duties to the fridge, and told them which family and friends they could call for emergencies and rides.
Then, after the chorus of nonchalant “bye-mom”s, I drove away.
I called them each evening to say goodnight. Charlotte called me once with a question (that I don’t remember now), and at one point I listened to a short debate about who was going to scoop out the cat box first.
On day four Ellen sent me this photo collage entitled, “Home alone”:
Then she added, “Mom all of the milk in bowls in the sink is sour and clumpy and it smells disgusting.”
I replied, “Hmm, what to do, what to do…” and braced myself for the mess as I headed home the next day.
But after all these years I should’ve known that Vicki Hoefle was right: “Have faith in your children and their abilities – BEFORE they have proven they deserve it.”
And, voila…welcome home.