It's 7:05 and my three children are playing with the neighbors in our backyard. Their voices carry through the screen door while I sit in another room, occupied with reading -- and now writing this post.
I'm here if I'm needed, out of sight if I'm not, and within hearing range just in case.
It's a new development, this in-the-next-room parenting, one that is ushering a phase of life I couldn't even envision when I was changing diapers and hoisting toddlers onto my hip. When I feel adrift, like I'm not pulling my weight, I remind myself that my children are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing at these ages: growing into greater responsibility, social maturity, and independence.
I'm trying to do exactly what I'm supposed to be doing at this age, too: watching, guiding, praying, and incrementally letting go.
Parenting on the side. I'm enjoying this development.