Monday, November 05, 2012

Scared Shitless

Did you know that when you were 4 months old, you caught chicken pox from the daycare provider's first grade son? Have you ever seen a tiny baby listless from a raging fever and covered in chicken pox? Several phrases come to mind: "Scared Shitless" was one that fits nicely... The nights I spent hovering over your crib, stroking your hot head and carefully coating your delicate skin with the thick, brown oatmeal ointment were some of the longest I'd ever lived.


When you were 7, you began to have issues in school. Well, not really. I mean, the issues began when you were 4 and 5 and 6. I was able to write them off for all of those years, but at 7? That's when the situation truly exploded. It felt as though I were on an express train that was hurtling through the mountains, without any brakes and no conductor. The years of emails and phone calls and parent-teacher meetings left me sobbing into my pillow for many, many nights. I was frightened for your future; Petrified that I couldn't be the mother you would need me to be. Terrified that my inexperience with your "high maintenance" needs would hinder your growth...


There have been countless times I've worried over you and prayed to the universe that you would make it through childhood in one piece and into adulthood with a peaceful heart and happy life. But none of those worries have ever felt as fragile or delicate as the worries I've had now that you're 13; Now that you are encountering more adult situations and relationships.

Now that the decisions are no longer up to me....

I feel like the oars have been ripped from my boat... 

...and I'm drifting further and further away from you. I feel like I've been tied to the deck, and can't escape. I'm being forced to watch you struggle to figure out how to steer your own boat.

All I can do is shout at you from across the waves. Up and down and up and down... You're discovering that being your own captain is not always as easy as it appears.

And I can SEE where you're fighting the current when you should just let it carry you along! And I can SEE how you could make your boat go where you want it to, if only you would just use the oars in a certain way!

And there isn't a single thing I can do to FORCE you to paddle your boat the way I think it should...

And as your mother? This is the single most terrifying experience of my life.


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