My Son’s First Trip Alone

My Son’s First Trip Alone
August 11, 2010 jflojennings

By Amy Dienta

My son is 7-years-old and I have a hard time letting him go.  He recently left on a 3 week trip to visit my husband’s family in Mali, West Africa with my brother-in- law.  We went to the travel clinic and the pediatrician and got all the required medications and immunizations. We took the list of suggested over-the-counter products that he should bring and even bought a huge first-aid kit for him to take.

I worried about him and even had a dream that he got eaten by a huge snake!  But, he is coming home on Tuesday and he’s done great.

He flew from NY and stayed in a hotel in Morocco.  He met the Malian soccer team and even met with the Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure!

He played with his cousins without missing a beat, even though they don’t speak English.  Being a kid is a universal language.  He preferred Malian food over the food we sent for him.  He enjoyed all that Mali had to offer, and he did all of this without me.

I cannot wait for him to come home to hear all of his stories, hear about all the people he met and share his pictures with me (If he has not lost his camera by then).

I feel more confident letting him be a big boy now, as he has accomplished so much on his own during this trip. Maybe now I can let him walk in to school by himself and buy school lunch when he goes in to second grade in September.  This is a learning process for us both. He is trying to be independent and I am trying to keep him close and safe. He is going to scrape his knees attempting to skateboard and I have to be there to pick him up and wipe away the tears.

Recently I found this quote:

“It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

I have to just hope that he remembers what I have taught him while he is trying out his new-found freedom and thinks about things before he does them.  And I hope he remembers to wear his helmet while he skateboards.

Comments (5)

  1. Tiffany MacKay 9 years ago

    Great post Amy. Reading your post made me think of how I am going to do the first time I really have to let my son go and do something without me there to make sure he is okay. I know it will be hard and I will be a wreck. It is hard to find that balance of being there for your child and allowing them their independence. You don’t want them to feel sadness, disappointment, or fear but at the same time you know that is a part of life and something they need to experience so that they can develop empathy and understanding as well as the tools to deal with those situations. I look forward to reading your next piece.

  2. Meredith McKay 9 years ago

    Amy,
    You show a whole different perspective on Motherhood by being the Mom to a 7 year old. I get a glimpse as to what I will be dealing with in years to come. Even though my daughter is only 23 months, I am beginning to see her independence shine through and it is scary but you are 100% correct, that this is a learning experience for both Mother and child.

  3. Jane Marshall 9 years ago

    Thank you for showing us new moms that as they get older, you can let go a little bit and help them enjoy what the gift of life has to offer. They will always be our baby no matter how old they get, but it is truly our gift and our job to encourage them to enjoy life and develop into the people they will one day become. You allowed him to have an experience of a lifetime, and just think of the stories he will tell at school and how many other kids in his class will be in complete awe! He will forever and always remember this trip and be thankful to you and your husband for giving him the opportunity to go! Good job Amy!

  4. Laurie Lotti 9 years ago

    It is amazing how from the time they start to walk we spend our time teaching them to do things for themselves and how to be independent. Then when they demonstrate their independence it is bittersweet. We are happy to see their growth and feel comforted knowing that they will be able to be a contributing member of society…but feel sad that our babies don’t need us as much. But the truth is: they still need us … just in a different way. We won’t be tieing shoes and kissing skinned knees any more but will be talking about dating, college, and work experiences.

  5. Sabina Chen 9 years ago

    Oh, I feel those heartstrings. Milo is at that stage where he gets fussy if I leave the room. How much longer before he flies off to Africa without me? Wonderful post, Amy!

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