Have you ever had one of those moments when you knew, just knew, that the decision you were about to make was the absolute wrong one?
It was a hot summer night, and all I wanted to do was relax, have a glass of wine and watch some seriously mindless TV (the kids are re-watching The Office from start to finish and I got sucked into their binge, so it’s completely, utterly mindless). The problem with my plan was that Claire needed to be picked up from volleyball tryouts at school. Zach offered to go in my place, and I was only too happy to accept. All was well. I poured myself a glass of wine and prepared to sit back and relax.
I couldn’t relax. I knew she would be finding out if she made the team or not. I started pacing, second guessing my decision to have Zach pick her up. The mama needed to be there, of that I was absolutely certain. Either way…make the team or not. I needed to be the one to pick her up. I thanked Zach for his offer, and asked if he wanted to ride along. He deferred, but Lucas jumped at the chance to ride with me to their high school.
I pulled into the parking lot, with all of the other parents who were in the same boat as I was. Lucas’ company was a welcome relief to the drudgery of waiting. We chatted, talking about school and how much he would miss it next year once he’s outta there. And as our conversation progressed, I saw one mom and then another and another and another get out of their cars and head into the school. I knew we were all there for the same reason, picking up our girls from tryouts. I looked at Lucas and said, “Did I miss something? I don’t think parents are supposed to go in. I didn’t see anything about it. Claire didn’t say anything. I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to go in. Should I go in? I really don’t think I should! I think this is just for the girls. I think we’re supposed to stay here and wait for them.” Lucas assured me it was just for the girls. That parents aren’t supposed to go in. Their daughters would be out soon enough. In my mind, I knew that was the case, but was glad to have Lucas back me up. So we sat.
And I said, “I may not have done everything perfectly, but I think that is one thing I’ve done right for you guys. I haven’t been a helicopter. I’ve stood back and let you take control of what you’ve needed to.” This was Claire’s tryout. Not mine. I didn’t need to insert myself into a situation that was hers to own. Lucas and I went on to talk about how many parents do such a disservice to their kids by trying to control, manage, shelter and thrust themselves into situations where they really don’t belong. In my mind, and how Stan and I choose to parent, our kiddos have to take ownership of their lives. We are here to guide, advise, support, hug, love and propel them into a successful life. They can’t do that if we are their constant crutch.
It’s one thing I think I’ve done right in parenting my three young adults. And I’m pretty dang proud of it. I have to say, I think my kiddos are pretty doggone happy with my hands’ off approach as well. This, as always, I do for the love of my children…