November 17, 2012

I Worry...

As a parent, I worry about my children.  I wonder what experiences my children will run into and whether or not they will be properly prepared.  Will I have been the mother that sheltered them too much and they are bewildered by real life or will they have been there, done that and be jaded way too early in life?  Will I have them prepared for the ugly things in the world or will they be completely taken by surprise by how mean this world can be?  Will they trust too much and be taken for fools repeatedly or believe the whole world is out to get them and hide themselves away in some cabin in the woods where they become off-the-grid hermits so as to never be hurt?  It's my guess that most parents worry about whether they are raising their children well or not and none of us will know until they are grown and it's really too late to go back and try again.  THAT'S SCARY!

This past summer Daughter walked away from my mom and me in a Kohl's department store.  I have never been so scared in my entire life.  We were close to one of the exits.  All I could think is she either walked right out the automatic doors and is wandering the parking lot by her little not-even-3-yet self or she's a beautiful little girl and there are some sick and wrong people in this world.  I was absolutely out of my mind, on the verge of tears but trying not to let fear win.  I NEEDED HER TO BE FOUND!  I was 7 months pregnant with Son and running about yelling her name, getting no response for about 2 minutes that felt like an hour.  Random people were asking me what Daughter looked like and where she was last.  I stopped and talked to an employee and she was asking about what Daughter was wearing and what she looked like.  We were in the middle of talking about locking down the store when I saw a flash of purple go streaking across an aisle...Daughter was wearing a purple sundress.  I left my cart with my mom's and my purses in it where it was cuz I would be OK with someone taking all my money and credit cards as long as I was the one walking out of the store with Daughter and took off sprinting.  Yep, SPRINTING at 7 months pregnant in a Kohl's department store wearing sandals.  As I rounded the corner, there was Daughter!  I grabbed her to me, melted to the floor, hugging her to the point she could barely breathe and started crying.  She started yelling, "Let me go!  Let me go!"  I did not!  She was not even slightly scared...she was having fun!  I can plainly state right now that if I hadn't been so deathly scared I would have beat Daughter's butt red in the middle of that store!  She got a little fear when she realized I was crying and asked, "What's wrong Mama?  Why are you crying?" 10 times over before I got the lump out of my throat enough to tell her I thought I had lost her forever.

After this heart attack inducing experience, Daughter and I had a long talk about "bad people".  I told her how there are bad people in this world and how they hurt little kids for fun.  I told her how one of these bad people could have taken her away and she would have NEVER seen her daddy or me again.  She kept asking why and I could only say because not everyone in this world is nice.  I told her some people can seem nice and then they would grab her and she'd be gone.  I told her that if someone ever grabbed her I wanted her kicking, scratching, biting and hitting with all her strength and screaming, "THIS IS NOT MY MOMMY!  HELP!" at the top of her lungs!  Recently Grandmama was joking with her and said she was going to steal Daughter away from me and Daughter said, "No you won't cuz I will bite, scratch and kick you and yell, 'HELP! THIS IS NOT MY MOMMY!'"  It was one of those 'WHOA!  She was actually listening' moments.  Now, that was with Grandmama and hopefully she won't alert the authorities if Grandmama grabs her in a store but hey, I'd be happier with that than if she didn't and something bad really happened.  Explaining away the fact that the lady was her Grandmama would be better than her happily walking out of a store with the 'nice' guy that offered her a puppy that she needed to come to his windowless van to get.  I worried that I went too far in my explanation and yet I needed her to understand.  This was the first of what I hope are many open and honest conversations with Daughter.

I know I can't keep my kids in a bubble, letting nothing ever happen to them but what about a netting bubble of sorts where most bad things stay away but enough small hurts make it past so they have just enough fear?  Not so everything is scary but so they know if you don't know how to swim don't jump in the water without a lifejacket kind of fear.  There are strangers that can become friends and there are strangers that talk to you about being mass murders that haven't acted on their rage yet in the grocery store that should be avoided at all costs kind of fear.  (Wanna hear that story now don't you?  I might need to make a separate page of "Adventures in Grocery Shopping" cuz apparently a lot of fun things happen when I'm getting groceries.  Ever had a security guard called for you and about you all in one shopping trip?  I HAVE!)

J, from my "Sanity Squad", recently had her son call her for a ride home after having too much to drink at a party. I was not only proud of her son for being smart enough to do that (I did tell her that I wouldn't be so proud if it had been her 4 year old son) but I am also hopeful that I will have that good of a relationship with my children that they know they could and should call me in any situation.

I want my kids to ask me about drinking and drugs and sex.  Yep, I really do!  I want to be that mom who is totally open with my children, that mom whose kids ask all the awkward questions, that mom who is cool enough to explain all the experiences I have had without judging my kids as to why they're asking.  I want to be the mom who is cool enough but is not their friend.  I don't want to go drinking with my kids but I want them to know that if they are out drinking and all their friends are too drunk to drive, even if it's 3am, they can call me and I'll drag my tired and half asleep butt out of bed, drive to wherever they are and thank them for being smart enough to call right after explaining how they should have had a DD.

I fully expect my children to be hurt by this world, it's part of growing up unfortunately but I truly and fully hope that when they are hurt they come to me for hugs and advice, stand themselves back up and go on living with just a little more knowledge.  I want my children to be protected so badly as a mother and I'm scared to death about what this world will throw at them.  I guess I have to sit back and hope that I can protect them a little and teach them a lot so they know they can always come to mom but they have the resources to make the right decision themselves.

It's scary being a parent!  It shouldn't be scary to be a kid.

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