Story by

Kaitlin Saul

February 2nd, 2016

We live down a dirt road surrounded by family, so we tend to let our children play outside without much of a watchful eye. They know the boundaries of our yard, and that they are supposed to ask to walk up to their Pawpaw's. Of course, sometimes they go past these boundaries without permission – that's just what curious children do. They get something in their minds, make up a wild adventure and just roll with it.

Just the other day I was inside cleaning and thinking how peaceful and quiet it finally was. The kids were outside, while their daddy was in the garage. Around dusk, the kids came running inside, out of breath, telling me some story about a new path they made in the woods that took them to the pond. I stopped them there, reminded how dangerous that is, and explained that they cannot leave the yard without a grown-up. I guess they listened, even though my oldest only responded with, "So can we please show you our path tomorrow?"

Tomorrow came and I kept my word to follow them down their new path. From the start, I could tell it was made by children; the path went under fallen trees that you had to army crawl through, and down steep ditches they slid down on their butts. I just kept following though, thinking how potentially dangerous this could have been for them. One wrong step and they could break a bone or tumble down the hillside. I kept those thoughts to myself, however. We kept on truckin' down through the woods until we made it to the frozen pond. It was amazing to listen to our oldest as she explained different landmarks she remembered to keep track of the path.

Watching them lead the way down the path that day, proudness gleaming in their eyes, I couldn't make them feel bad for disobeying me. It made me think of their lives and how I will eventually have to let them choose their own paths. They will need to go through hurdles. They will get hung up and run into obstacles without anyone there to tell them the "right" way.

As their mother, it's tough watching them grow and make their own decisions. It's also a part of life letting them accept more responsibility, even if they sometimes disobey what I've said to gain it. The nitty-gritty of it all it that parents only want what is best for their children. Loosening the reins on their lives is a first start, and trusting them to make the right decision for themselves – not for us – is the second.