As I was finishing up my chauffeur duties for today I was reminded of my favorite next door neighbor in Louisville. Weezie finished raising her kids long before we moved next door, she was well into her 70’s. Her kids were our ages and she was now onto the grandkids. Weezie and her first husband raised six kids, all born within eight years (they had one set of twins). She would joke that it took having five babies to figure out what was causing all of the kids. Weezie would also tell stories of her dinner hour martinis and how she would fix herself a drink while fixing a bottle for one of the babies. She would nurse her martini while the babies nursed on their bottles. Her way of raising kids was as foreign to me as our way of raising our kids was to Weezie.
Weezie is one of my all time favorite people. She is one of the most generous, warm people you could ever hope to meet in your life. She included us in many of their family gatherings. I remember feeling down because we didn’t have any family close by ~ Weezie and Craig to the rescue. We were included in a family Derby Party. We were included in a family Christmas party. We were invited to their 10 year anniversary party. I couldn’t have ever hoped for more kind and generous neighbors. When we were living next door to her I asked her what she would like our children to call her, “I don’t care what they call me, as long as they call me,” she said. All of us have many fond memories of Weezie and Craig.
Weezie taught me a lot about being a Mama. She taught me not to take things so seriously. She taught me motherhood is great and rewards are eventually reaped. She taught me to give selflessly but also remember myself. She never directly said any of these things she just imparted this knowledge to me. I just got it.
One area where we differed wildly was in how much Mamas of today do for their kids. Weezie told me she never would have been able to make every one of her kids’ practices, games or theatre events. Parents did things much differently back then. Mamas weren’t the beck and call mamas of today. They didn’t wear chauffeur hats from the time the kids got out school each day until the kid went to bed. They weren’t as involved as parents are now. Sometimes I think that is a good thing and sometimes I think it is a great thing. Sometimes, I think we are overly involved in our kids lives. We are helicopter parents. We do too much. Maybe parents before our time did too little. Who knows? I do know we are vastly different from parents of yesteryear.
I think I have tried to find a balance in what I do for my kids. I wear the chauffeur hat but I don’t “helicopter” around their school work. I make sure the kids understand the work but I don’t get the assignments off of the website or, like other parents I know, do the work for them. I am not sure where the fine line is between doing too little or being a helicopter parent but I am hopeful I took Weezie’s lessons to heart and do a little more than parents of yesteryear but not as much as a helicopter parent. I do what I do for the love of my children…