8/26/10 Lessons on Loosening The Apron Strings: His Independence and My Panic


Lessons on Loosening The Apron Strings:

His Independence and My Panic

Let me start off by saying  that I have always loved the idea of “a boy and his dog”.  So, when my son was 4 years old, he got his first dog, Chilli (a 55 lb. mischievous and hyperactive Terrier Springer Spaniel Mix).  When he was 8 years old, he got Midnight (a 60 lb. nervous but peaceful Chow Chow).  For the most part, the dogs had been my responsibility until my son was 10, but for the past year, or so, he has tried to take responsibility for everything about the dogs, except walking them (they are strong dogs and Chlli is out of control).

One day I had a scary mother’s moment. I was in the kitchen washing dishes, when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my son run past the window, heading out the driveway and down the block. I ran outside and yelled down the street, “Where are you going?” Without looking my way, he yelled back, “To get Chilli!” I immediately started running after them.  I’m not as fit as I use to be, and I don’t run as fast as a dog or an 11 yr. old so I couldn’t keep up. We don’t live in a quiet neighborhood, and I had left my house unlocked with the water running in the sink, but I didn’t have time to dread over the house or my material belongings.  I kept running and yelling to my son, “Don’t run after him”, but my son kept running.

The next thing I knew, Chilli ran across the intersection at the end of my block; then my son was running across the intersection (we don’t have four-way stop signs on my street), and MY HEART STOPPED.

In just minutes, they were blocks away (about 3) and my son could not hear me begging him to stop. Then, suddenly, they were both out of my sight. They had turned a corner, and my panic escalated. My son had never been out by himself before.  On top of that, I was afraid that he would run out into the street again (his focus was only on the dog).  I didn’t know if he would be wary of cars or strangers.  The more I ran in their direction, the faster and farther they were running away.  I didn’t have my cell phone, I was worried sick, and all I could do was pray.

Minutes later (or what felt like an eternity), my son came back around the corner and he had Chilli by the collar. I was so relieved. When I caught up to them, I picked Chilli up and started carrying him home (that’s a lot with a squirming 55 lb. dog in your arms). As I was walking, I began thinking about how mature my son was and how he was trying to be responsible for his pet. True, he had accidentally let Chilli out, but he wanted to fix it. He wasn’t afraid, he was determined, and underneath my fear, I was proud. On the other hand, I had to let my son know that, as far as I was concerned, his safety was more important to me, and running across streets, while chasing a dog, was very dangerous and something that he should never do again.

The worrier in me can’t help but wonder, what would have happened if I hadn’t seen my son run by (if I had been in any other part of the house besides the kitchen)? What if I hadn’t known that Chilli had run away and that my son was running across streets and around corners looking for his dog? My fears keep me from letting go.

By the time we got home, I was sweaty and covered in dog hair, but did I learn anything? Surprisingly, yes. I learned that my son is ready for more responsibility, and I need to start implementing more moments for him to gain his independence, I learned that I, too, am a work in progress, and I learned that in order for me to have peace of mind I need to work on how to let go and let God, whew!

Peace & Blessings —{-@

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