To me, there nothing so sacred an office as parenthood.
Helping someone get from here…
It’s the most daunting…
..most challenging position I’ve ever held.
The job description is clear. When they are tiny, love them.
Love them some more.
We have a few short years to raise and guide them, and allow them to find their own way to shine.
To help them acquire the skills they need to paddle their own canoe.
To allow them to test their wings.
To give them every opportunity to make decisions and exercise their own power.
Even so, one of the greatest challenges we have as parents is to let them grow up.
A few years ago, with the kids’ encouragement, we stepped out of our comfort zone into the Amazon jungle.
To ride a zip-line over the jungle canopy we had to reach a platform 125 feet above the jungle floor. Instead of letting our guide use pulleys and ropes to haul them up, they insisted on pulling themselves up, step by step.
As they dangled from a single rope a hundred feet up, I thought of the book Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte considered her egg sac, from which her babies hatched, her ‘magnum opus.’ One by one, the baby spiders spun a fine web into a tiny balloon and rode the breeze, floating off into the world to land somewhere and build a web of its own.
I couldn’t have been prouder–or more relieved–when they climbed to the top under their own power.
We have all traveled well together…
…but children must be free to choose their own direction, just as we did when we were young.
I quell my panic when one of my chicks…
..leaves the safety of the home harbor.
I trust them to stay calm, exercise good judgement, weather the storms…
…and any other unforeseen dangers.
We cut them loose from the mother ship, then hope and pray they find a soft landing place…
…and a bright future.
And that, every now and then, they remember to phone home.
All words and images ©2015NaomiBaltuck