I was going to title this blog post "Independence Day", but then I realized that it didn't come in one day... it came in small steps, over time. I'm talking about Princess. Ever since she was abducted by her father & stepmother, she was a little behind in the traditional "independence from my parents" sense. Between her fear of going anywhere where they may be, especially without me or her Papa with her, and my fear of it possibly happening again, we were a bit overprotective of her, but she didn't mind one bit.
The abduction happened just before Halloween, 2007; a little over a week before her 8th birthday. Since we live within the walk zone for the grade school, I either drove her (if I was headed straight to work) or we walked together. After, I would walk to the school, and we'd walk back together. The only exceptions were when she'd go to a friend's house or if I couldn't go get her (Ace would usually do it, then).
At the beginning of 5th grade, I was walking her to the corner, and watching her walk the rest of the way. School was a "safe zone" for her; her Principal & teachers made sure of that. Her SM was not allowed anywhere near Princess (by court-order) without her BD; BD wasn't allowed on school grounds unless (a) I was there, too (concerts, BTS Night, etc) and/or (2) Princess wasn't there (like for teacher conferences). By the end of the year, I stood at our driveway and watched 'til she got to the corner (usually meeting a friend), turned & waved at me, & off she went.
By 6th grade, she was walking the whole way herself. Of course, by this point, she also had a cell phone, and knew that if there was EVER a problem, she could call or text me. She also was under strict law to text when she got to school, and text when she was leaving school. There were a couple times that she "forgot", which freaked me out. For the most part, though, having the phone allowed her a bit more freedom to be out & about with her friends (at the school park, at the library & library park, at the swim center, friends' homes, etc).
This past summer, she's totally blossomed. When she goes to friends' houses, they walk to other places. For instance, she went to KeVi's house, and they walked to DQ. She & KeVi went swimming, and they went to get ice cream afterward. She goes to Lil's, and they walk to the library & park, etc. ALWAYS, she gets permission, & checks in periodically, but she is finally getting more comfortable going out & about with her friends (without a parental figure).
Now, she's cheering for the first time. Three of her friends (KeVi, and two from her grade school) are on the team with her. She's had two practices, and today is day two of Cheer Camp/Clinic. She has asked, politely, that I just drop her off and come back later to pick her up (don't worry; she still wants me to come to the games to watch her cheer then). While I'm a little bummed she no longer wants me there to watch, I am excited that she feels safe & comfortable enough to allow me to leave. Of course, I'm only a 3m drive away (we don't live far from where they practice)... just in case.