The older our children get, the more they want to do things on their own. It can be unnerving to let your child go out into that cold, cruel world by himself; you never know what might happen!
I remember when my first born son, Christopher, swatted my hand away when I went to button his shirt at age 3 and said, "No, Mommy, I do!"
He learned to soothe himself to sleep, feed himself, and do all sorts of "big boy" things all while I watched. Taking a calculated step back is not always easy to do. When he went down the slide without my help - I trembled and held my arms out anyway. He walked into his kindergarten classroom so excited that he forgot to say goodbye to me - I silently stood in the doorway and watched him enter a world he didn't know before that day. Later on in his late teens he drove to visit his aunt and uncle five hours away (see post on Apples & Chalkdust blog)- 250 miles - while I anxiously watched the clock and waited for his phone call to tell me he was safe.
This letting go wasn't always easy - in fact it felt more like a tug-of-war.
But it's hard to know when to let go - you don't want to let go too suddenly or your child may tumble to the ground. It might be a good idea to ease up on your grip a little at a time, so that when you do let go your child finds himself standing straight and tall and not flat on his back.