I fully admit to being a bit of a hoverer when it comes to my mothering techniques (though I have to also confess that my husband actually doesn’t think I hover quite closely enough to our children*…I know, right?)
So when the mother of one of Alyssa’s friends called me last week to invite Alyssa to a birthday even for said friend, I accepted but with much fretting. See, the birthday event was going to be in Fort Wayne, a good hour drive away from our house. And the mom was going to pick Alyssa up, drive to Fort Wayne, take Alyssa and Friend ice skating, then jumping at a trampoline place, THEN to dinner and THEN to a hotel where they’d be able to swim.
This meant Alyssa would be out of my hovering zone for a full twenty four hours.
The mom called me again on Friday afternoon to confirm pick up time and drop off time. Pick up: 11:30 on Saturday morning. Return to home: 4:00pm or 5:00pm Sunday afternoon. That meant MORE than twenty four hours of Alyssa being out of my hover zone.
My fretting went through the roof.
But it got worse. See, when the mom showed up on Saturday morning, she didn’t have her child with her. This was a mom I’d spoken to all of two times on the phone. I’d never seen her at the school, I’d never met her face to face until she was walking out the door with my child to drive away with her.
As they did drive away, my imaginings went through the roof. What if this wasn’t actually the women to whom I’d spoken twice earlier in the week? What if she was some deranged kidnapper who was driving off with my daughter, never to be seen again?
I realize how insane and ridiculous this all is. I do. And yet my brain wouldn’t stop.
I started thinking about the return home being late and wondering how late was late enough for me to start calling together the search party. By then, she’d have been gone from our house for at least thirty hours. A lot can happen to a person in thirty hours. A lot of miles can be traveled in thirty hours.
I barely slept Saturday night as horrible scenarios played out in my imagination.
I felt like I could finally breathe when she walked through the door at 3:55 on Sunday afternoon.
Yep, they were EARLY. And I was so, so grateful.
I know I have a lot more weekends like this. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when she goes off to college. I’ll probably lose my mind.
Though, rereading this, it seems I might have already done that.
*The fact that my husband doesn’t think I hover closely enough was brought home to me when Julie and I were emailing back and forth and I shared a comment Tom made one evening when I was giving Olivia a bath.
During her bath, she made quite a mess with water on the floor. I was fussing at her and when we got downstairs, Tom asked what all the fussing was about. I told him about the water on the floor and he said, “I would have thought she couldn’t get water on the floor with you being right there to keep an eye on her.”
When I told Julie this story, she read his comment as sarcastic because, well, Julie knows me and knows how closely I hover over my children.
However, he wasn’t being sarcastic at all. He was comment on the fact that I obviously wasn’t watching her closely enough if she’d been able to make a watery mess on the floor.
Julie has seen me in all my helicopter parent glory, I think she couldn’t believe it was possible that anyone would think I don’t watch my kids closely enough and Tom didn’t think it was possible for Olivia to make a mess if I’d been watching her at all.
That Olivia, though, she can make a mess in the time it takes me to turn around to get a towel out of the linen close, with is all of ten steps away from the bathtub.