Right now, right this very second, my nine year old is in the kitchen baking cupcakes. It is taking every ounce of my self control not to go in there and help- or at least start damage control. I snuck a peak in and cringed at the chaotic state of affairs. There are measuring cups and spoons strewn about, cupcake liners on the floor, poofs of flour rising from turned over bowls, streaks of butter on the counter, a puddle of milk on the stool and the stove is glistening with I don’t even want to know what. If you know me, you know this is driving me crazy. I don’t like messes. Of any kind. But especially in the kitchen. When I bake I clean as I go. I’m more intent on keeping the mess to a minimum than I am to following the recipe. I like recipes where I need to dirty as few bowls as possible. Weird yes, I know. That’s why my mother-in-law had dubbed me “queen of the one dish dinners” and why my baked goods are usually the ones passed over on holidays. BUT, my chocolate chip cookies are to die for (seriously!!)
Anyway, I like that she’s taken up a new hobby and I love that she wants to do it all on her own. I am confident that she’ll follow the recipe and that her cupcakes will actually be good. My problem is that I don’t completely trust her to follow through with the entire process, even though she promised left, right and upside down that she would clean up every last inch of the kitchen when she was done. I told her that if she wanted to do this she would have to do all of the clean up. ALL of it. I am going to have to trust that she will (even though she said “you mean I have to wash all the bowls too???!! Ummm-yeah).
Because that’s the thing. I feel like this is the year that I’m going to have to let her grow up a little bit. She wants to go to sleepovers, she wants to pick out her own clothes, she wants to walk to school alone. In theory I’m ok with giving her a bit more freedom, but in reality I guess I’m not totally ready to let her do any of this stuff on her own. I do not in any way consider myself an overprotective mom. My kids aren’t sheltered, or coddled, or anything like that. But I do believe in boundaries and setting limits and in our house there are lots of them. I feel like if I let go of some things I will be letting go of so much control when it comes to who they are and how they grow and how safe they are. How do you balance a kids need for independence with a parents need to protect? Ugh! I don’t know and I don’t want to get it wrong.
This is just one small step. This cupcake thing. I think maybe that’s what I need.. small steps. Baby steps. Letting go just a teeny tiny bit at a time and learning to trust my kid to do the right thing. But maybe I’ll wait to decide just how much I need to give until after I venture back into the kitchen. If it’s recognizable as my own, well then maybe… maybe… she’ll have earned a bit of freedom. And if those cupcakes taste good on top of it, well then…