Our town, like many towns, has a summer recreational soccer program. When my kids played, the youngest age bracket was U6 (Six and Under). In this age group, the coaches (usually parents) were right out on the soccer field with the teams. As the pint-sized soccer players ran around after the ball in a little herd, the coaches stayed right with them. I think that’s the way it is early on in parenting, too. When your kids are little, you are smack dab in the center of their lives, running around with them, helping them find their way. When they get a bit older, you move to the sidelines; you might run up and down alongside the field offering advice and encouragement, but there's a little distance between you and them now. More time passes and you find yourself up in the bleachers. You’re still watching them and cheering them on, but your kids are out there making their own decisions, and they can’t always hear you. Then before you know it, you’re watching from home. You’re rooting for them: cheering when things go well, booing when they don’t. You give advice when asked. But you’re nowhere near the center of the action anymore. And although it’s hard to get used to, it’s exactly the way it should be.