I have been a stress ball lately. My husband has pointed it out more than a few times to me this summer. Unfortunately, my anxiety is contagious. It makes my kids fearful and can really put a damper on an otherwise pleasant activity. So I've been attempting to recognize the moments I start to get intense and step back for a minute to breathe.
It ain't easy though. My mind races past the realities of the moment to all the tragic possibilities! Like when the kids are fishing off of Grandpa's boat, I can clearly predict the impending kid overboard. So instead of enjoying the moment, I micromanage. I bark orders like the ship's captain, "Careful there! Hold on! Don't run! Please, sit down! Where are you going?!..."
I know. I'm tired of hearing my voice too.
It's so hard to tone down those overprotective qualities in me, though. The one that winces at each new risk taken, from climbing the tall playground apparatus to running downhill a concrete driveway. I foresee scraped knees, broken arms, and rivers of tears! And guess who has to doctor those tender elbows and clean up their bloody knees? Me. Mommy. I hate seeing my kids in pain.
But scrapes will happen. Kids trip and fall...a lot. It's just a part of growing up. Bless those Bandaids and popsicles for making so many accidents better!
The risks make the adventure more exciting, doesn't it? Going down the tall, twisty slide for the first time is a right of passage. Balancing on a bike without the safety of training wheels is every parent's proud, photo-documenting opportunity. If we never let them try, even with the possibility of getting hurt, they would never learn! Our kids would miss out on so many exciting adventures!
Remember what it was like to roller skate without holding on to the wall? Can you recall the rush of letting your bike speed down the tallest hill while you lifted your hands in exhilaration? That was what it was like to feel carefree.
So, relax, Mom! Let them go! They may surprise you...and themselves. Cheer them on! And if you're brave enough, get on your bike too, and get in on the fun.
They'll call for help, if they need you. Always.