Summer’s end for the helicopter mom

This summer flew by like the wind. If you blinked, you missed it. At the beginning I had so many plans and was mostly happy to have the children home and not having to shuttle them back and forth, and to and fro (which I ended up doing over the summer anyway). We planned to enjoy a day at the bay, visit relatives down south, make tie-dyed shirts, go to a few museums, you ¬†know, the usual. But we ended up spending our days keeping cool, staying up late watching Steven Universe, and eating poorly. They attended a few weeks of camp, enjoyed the pools, and took advantage of our Six Flags passes. Right before school started, we spent the week at Myrtle Beach. Watching them bury my husband in the sand and collecting shells, it hit me, summer would be over in a matter of days. My baby would be going to kindergarten, and I’d have an empty house during the day. The sadness I felt that can only be described as a cold realization that some day, sooner than I would like, I’ve got to let go of those small hands and let them explore the world for themselves.

As they hopped waves, I was there. When they collected shells, I carried the bucket. At no point were they out of my sight. While at school, they are out of my sight for just a little more than six hours, under the care of people who are not relatives. People who could never love them the way I do. This same thinking is what prompted me to consider homeschooling a couple years ago. It’s also how I came to realize my control issues.

I took my children to school for the first day and was met with chaos (which is to be expected) and a school administrator telling me I had to drop my kindergartener off at the cafeteria and not walk her to class. I was incredulous, said what I needed to say, and walked right on past him. The nerve. It confounds me why some schools act as though they have more say in these situations than a parent. Those are my kids! Period. For me, the hardest part of my children going to school is not the homework, nor the science fair projects, PTO meetings and events. It isn’t the weekly folders, field trips, nor stupid standardized testing. It’s the relinquishment of not necessarily control, but of my post. As mom, mother, mommy, I am charged with their safety, both emotional and physical well-being. Handing it over does not sit well with me. But as they grow older and require my hand less, I realize that in order for us all to live…and grow, I must get right with that. I have to let go. For now, I still hover. I will let them walk to class alone, but I remain at the door. I am late to leave and early to arrive in the carpool line. I volunteer more than asked and strong arm my way to chaperone EVERY field trip. But eventually, those attempts to hang on, won’t matter. It won’t be the rules pushing me away, it may very well be those tiny hands…that’s a hard thought for a mommy who hovers, the helicopter mom who is always there. For those 6.5 hours, there is no total peace, I can’t fully relax, and I’m sure my blood pressure is elevated. Once I have all of my babies back in the nest, despite their bickering, whining, and shouting, my peace returns. The harsh reality is that I have a long road ahead filled with more of the same. Basically, unless I get it together, I’m screwed.