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.


12 comments:

Frosted Fingers said...

I'm not ready for teenagers. You are a great mom Tracey. Your kids will turn out fine

Shannon said...

I read this and just had to comment. This is incredible.
I have two teenagers and Yes! Yes! Yes!
It is really tempting to choose their path for them sometimes, but then how will they learn to navigate life?

The Empress said...

It's so very hard.

We could forever on this.

The cord, the Dr. never cuts the cord.

THey tell you they do, but they don't.

xo

Marta said...

I am so not ready for my kids to be teenagers! Scared shitless indeed.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Oh, I hope things get easier soon---I'm not looking forward to the teen years at all. That saying, "little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems" seems to be so very, very true the older they get. Hugs to you.

cathypaul said...

After reading your post, I am going to prepare myself for better and the worse as my children are also growing and I am facing bit of problems in tackling them.
From your post I have learned one thing that when things go out of your hand,Simply let them go.....

LceeL said...

The hardest thing for a parent to learn is how to watch - because sometimes it's all you can do. Oh, sometimes you get to jump in a save them when they fall out of the canoe, but once done, you're put back on the shore, to watch from afar, again.

It's a one man canoe they're in, as far as they're concerned. One man canoe.

anymommy said...

xoxo. you are inspiring.

StephLove said...

The teen years are only 1.5 years away here. N gave me a taste I think when he didn't come home on time from trick-or-treating. I was so scared I yelled at him when he came home and I rarely yell at the kids.

Stephanie Precourt said...

Wow wow wow. Yes.

Steph

AJ said...

Oh...
"I feel like the oars have been ripped from my boat..."
I have a 9 year old... and we are just starting to struggle with him... and I feel like I am on a river rushing for a waterfall... and I am holding on and trying to avoid rocks... and trying to protect him. Middle school is so close. sniff.

Melisa said...

It's always easier for me to be flippant about this because I'm on the other side of it already (twice), but I remember how this feels. I'm sure it's amplified because you homeschool and see him all the time, too. I'll just keep repeating that things will get better. And I would also like to say that Lou's comment was spot-on. I can't say it better!

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