I like to tease my mom about the day my younger brother got his driver’s license. We sent him into town with the simple task of picking up a pizza. My mom watched him climb into the car and pull out of the driveway. She then walked over to our cupboard, lines in her face highlighting her worry, and pulled out a brand new box of Cherrios. I watched as she ate her way through the entire box, eyes darting from the clock to her phone. “Where is he? Call him. No, don’t call him, he’s driving and he might answer…” I laughed at her hysteria, confident in my brother’s driving abilities.
But now, suddenly, I am starting to get it.
It started small. My other younger brother recently got his driver’s license and he took me out to ice cream a few weekends ago. As he went to turn right out of a store, a semi truck was coming over a hill in our lane.
“LOOOK OUUUTTT!!!” I yelled from the passenger’s side, throwing my arms to shield my driving brother. My heart was pounding, it felt like everything was happening so quickly…
The truck was about a half mile away, going maybe 15mph. My brother laughed and pulled out safely in front of the semi. I continued to hyperventilate until the truck was out of sight.
Then yesterday, my husband, who gets out of class around 4 on Mondays, neglected to call. By 4:45, I was a nervous wreck. I called twice and had my own personal debate. Should I call again? No, what if he’s in class… He probably wanted to talk to his professor… but what if he got hit by a van and is lying in a bush somewhere and his bike is broken and needs help and his phone is broken and he’s unconscious and I’m not there… This incoherent rambling continued until 5, when he called me saying his phone hadn’t had service in our apartment (see last post), but all was well. Whew.
If my baby doesn’t kick for a prolonged period of time, I get nervous. Last night I rolled around on the ground for ten minutes, talking and patting my belly like a weirdo until I could get a response from the baby (I regretted this later, when he kicked so much at 3am I couldn’t fall back asleep). I’ve lost my mind. I’m nervous that something, anything might happen if I’m not careful enough. And frankly, it’s exhausting!
I don’t want to take my kid to the park on a leash. I don’t want to have to sanitize everything he touches/puts in his mouth (as I know those will soon be the same things!). I don’t want to be a helicopter mom, or a crazy overbearing parent. I want my children to enjoy life, make mistakes they can learn from, and experience as much of the world as possible. But how do I let go of this delusional obsession of control that is starting to overtake me?
Sometimes, as my husband tells me, I guess I need to relax. Not everything is within my control. Being overprotective isn’t a guarantee everything in life will go smoothly- because life will never work that way. As I have said here before, pretty much the only thing in life you can control totally is your attitude. There is a big difference between apathy and rationality, and a fine line between protectiveness and insanity. All in all, it’s good to have a little faith once in a while. But just in case… I will still probably keep a cereal box handy.