I have more than one...oh, let's call them Cute Personality Quirks. Today I was faced with one of them. Maybe more, I'm not sure.
My son was was not just bored, he was BORED!!! He'd reached the screen time cut-off (that is, no more TV, GameCube, or computer for the day). He'd read for a couple of hours. He'd jumped on the trampoline. There was NOTHING TO DO, as apparently all of his toys are BORING.
Then he gets a call from a buddy; his father wants to take the two of them golfing.
The thing is, I get weird about my kids being in cars with other people. More than weird; I get anxious. What if? What if? What if??? I have driven on every single field trip of his, from Kindergarten all the way through third grade (except the few in which my husband participated), just to avoid this scenario.
But my son and his friend are taking golf lessons together, and this boy's father and I have carpooled to and from the lessons; the course isn't too far away and so it's within my comfort zone. I sucked it up and said, "Yeah, sure."
Then the father follows up with this one, "We're going to try a new course, over in Town-Twenty-Some-Miles-Down-The-Highway."
I didn't sign up for that. It's one thing to take my kid three miles away, but on the highway? AT RUSH HOUR? How's a paranoid mama like me supposed to deal?
A friend was with me, a friend who knows me well. She's mouthing at me, "Let him go. He'll be fine. Let him go. He'll be fine. Let him go. He'll be fine. Let him go. He'll be fine"
I told the dad that before I gave a final okay I'd need to check with my husband. HA! As if that's how our family works! I was really calling him to see if he could come up with a good excuse to get me out of the pickle into which I'd cornered myself. He just said, "I am sure it would be fine, but if you aren't comfortable with it just say no." Thanks a helluva lot...I need a better excuse than that. I mean, Just Say No? How 80's!
Ultimately, I knew I was being selfish and overprotective and unreasonable, so with a lump in my throat I told my son he could go. And how much fun you're going to have!
As we waited for him to be picked up, I put sunscreen on my boy's face, helped him get his golf gear in order, hugged him and kissed the top of his head, handed him his baseball cap, told him to wear his seatbelt (to which he looked at me as if I was insane; it would never occur to him to NOT wear it), and kept saying, "HAVE A GREAT TIME!"
I can't tell you how incredibly thrilled I was when five minutes later as the dad was picking him up, he informed me that he had decided to stay in town...traffic and all, you know.
Once I was back inside, my friend told me about how it was for her, growing up with a paranoid and overprotective parent. Her mom was always so concerned about something horrible happening to her kids she didn't allow them to do a lot of fun things. Like golfing with a friend, for example. The more I thought about it, the more I knew it was the right thing for me to do, to override my Cute Personality Quirk...to shed my selfishness and ignore my discomfort in order to allow him to HAVE SOME FUN.
As I typed the above, the phone rang. It was my son (ThankGodheisokay); he told me that they are on the eighth hole and then he exclaimed, "Can we have a sleepover?" My son, who just turned nine, has had literally over a hundred sleepovers here, but only once has he been willing to spend the night at someone else's home once...and not this Friend's home. So when he asked for asked for a sleepover I assumed that he meant at our home, so I answered, "Yeah, sure." See a pattern emerging?
My suddenly independent little boy said, "I don't care, but Friend wants to sleep at his house." This friend is a nice enough kid, but I don't know him or his family very well. Is this another Cute Personality Quirk, or just me being a good parent?
Really, how am I to know?