On a summer trip to Hilton Head, SC I realized that I may actually be the most neurotic mom on the planet. I first noticed this when we were at the park and children where climbing to the top limbs of these winding ancient oaks. In Florida, we don’t have many climbing trees, unless you have the ability to shimmy up a palm. Growing up in Maryland, I remember climbing those trees, and of course the memories that stand out most to a neurotic mom are the one’s of the kids that fell out and broke their own limbs.
So, there I was an inch from my child, ready to steady him at his first errant step. At the same time I was prepared to jump under some random 10yr old Evel Knievel, 25ft up, and let him use my frame to break his impending fall. “Where are that kid’s parents?” I asked my husband, as I was quite certain if they had witnessed his indiscretion in the tree, they would be giving him a stern talking to. Then over walked his dad. The kid said, “Who thinks, I’m gonna fall off and die?” To which the sensitive dad replied, “Well don’t do it halfway. If you only break something we’re gonna end up spending the whole night at the hospital.” Maybe you found that obnoxious, maybe you found it funny, I found it horrifying. But it seems that the general parenting attitude – outside of these very sheltered towns I’ve managed to live in – is one of ease and nonchalance. My husband has this attitude; he believes everything will be all right, whereas I think those crazy things that seem so rare are common occurrences and second guess my every decision, for fear of what those choices may have unleashed upon my family.
One of these choices was to sign the kids up for a day of Adventure Camp. I wanted to take advantage of the amazing golf. Scratch that, my husband wanted to take advantage of the amazing golf. He’ll be happy I mentioned “him,” “scratch,” and “golf” in the same sentence. The Adventure Camp wasn’t so adventurous. It was mainly 4 and 5 year olds and boasted a 1:3 counselor to camper ratio. They took the kids crabbing on the beach and then raced their crabs. Then they brought them to a shaded pool, low enough to stand in. Though I didn’t really care if we golfed or not, I reminded myself that sometimes your husband needs to do a bit of what he wants on a family vacation. Since, I rarely if ever put him first, or second, or third for that matter, I decided to let my kids enjoy a day at camp while we golfed. I know, it was the best choice for my kids and my husband, but for me, it was the one that caused the most anxiety. The other parents were in and out at drop off, but I spent quite some time saying my goodbyes, and assessing the counselors. I thoroughly interviewed them, asking about their lifesaving credentials, their head count procedures, and how I could contact them to check on my kids.
How many moms know how debilitating it is to worry over so many things at once? How hard it is to just enjoy something when scary scenarios keep popping into your head? I was relieved when we saw them at the pool in the afternoon; a surprise encounter that was only slightly planned on my part. Then in the hour between the pool and camp pickup a torrential downpour ensued and I had to start worrying all over again. Would the trolley skid or would someone slip on the wet brick pathways? After pick up I could breathe more freely, but I couldn’t help wonder, what kind of disservice I’m doing to my children by not allowing them to do things that other parents seem to have no problem with?
What do you think, can you relate? Are you a worrier or easy goer?