“Will you hold my hand?”

“No!”

“Okay, then I have to carry you. We’re in the parking lot, sweetie.”

“Walk!”

“Then you’re going to hold my hand.  Those are your choices.”

“I do it!”

The joys of life with a toddler.

As much as his independence frustrates me at times, though, I really take great pride in it–even at the same time I’m exasperated by trying to get him to hold my hand in a busy parking lot.

I consider myself to be an independent person.  I rarely ask for help.  Sure, there are times when I’m stressed, or sad, or scared, and I want to call my mommy and magically teleport myself back in time to be five years old again, when my mom could fix anything. But once I get through a crisis, and come out the other side, I’m proud of myself for getting through it on my own.

Because, deep down, I knew I could.

And now, I watch my toddler son explore his own growing independence.  As a mom, I’m both proud and frustrated.  As an educator, I’m thinking about how to raise him to be a courageous, independent leader. And when I stop to think about it, I’m really happy that he’s asserting his independence so confidently.

He will stumble.  I know that, even if he doesn’t.  He will fall, he will get hurt–physically, maybe; emotionally, certainly.  He will make mistakes.  There will probably come a time when he will want to call his mommy and wish that he could magically teleport back to being a little boy in my arms.

And I’ll be there to remind him how strong he is, and how he can do anything he sets his mind to do.

Because, deep down, I know he can.