Not too long ago, we took the entire family on a long walk on a sunny Sunday.
The whole crew came along – The Best Mom, Beanie, Bug, Squish, and even our dog, Balki.
We wound our way through forest paths, talking about the sounds, smells, and sights of the woods the day after a rainstorm. We ventured close enough to a creek that the dog ran in to cool off a bit.
And then we arrived at our destination: the playground!
As public playgrounds go, this one is pretty awesome, with slides, a rock-climbing wall, and even a mountain that was clearly inspired by the Aggro Crag! (I want a glowing piece of that, by the way. Starting the holiday wish list early.)
One of the coolest features of this particular playground is a long slide, which starts about 12 feet off the ground.
The only way to get there? Climb a ladder to a platform, and then go a bit higher.
For an adult? Easy.
For four-year-old Beanie? It may have been Mt. Everest.
But, dangit, she wanted to go down that slide, and nothing, not even fear, was going to stop her.
So, I climbed up the ladder first, to show her it was safe. And then came back down and helped guide her up the ladder.
“I made it up top, Mommy!” she yelled to The Best Mom, before screaming in delight down the slide.
This continued for the next 10 minutes. I would go first and help her up the ladder. Each time up, she gained confidence in her ability to make it up the ladder.
“#DadWin,” I smiled to myself. But it was getting a bit repetitive. When would she be able to do this herself? I think we brought some animal crackers. Yum…animal crackers…
And then Beanie dropped the bomb on her next run up the ladder.
“Daddy, I don’t need your help anymore. I can do it by myself.”
At once there was a sense of immense pride in my little girl. She was conquering her fears and having the time of her life.
“MOMMY! LOOK AT ME! I CLIMBED UP THE LADDER ALL BY MYSELF!” She had never been more proud of herself.
But, man, each fear she overcomes, each adventure she completes, is one less thing she needs me for. Little Beanie is growing up, a little bit, every day.
Nobody tells you that letting go of being needed is one of the hardest parts of parenting. Especially when all you think you want is to be needed less.