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.