Letting go of your kids is the hardest part about parenting.
Which makes sense because we often quit our own life so we can dedicate it to someone else–to teach them how to crawl, walk, eat, sleep, go to school, make friends, study, make the team, graduate on time, and ultimately leave the house in one piece (and hopefully with rave reviews and 5 stars on your parenting skill card). So it’s no wonder we get carried away on our parenting adventure–that we forget they need adventure of their own.
Still, no one has really asked us to quit our lives to focus on theirs, per se, but we do it because we think it’s what is best. And it might be, for the first handful of years, but after awhile, it all just turns into bad habits. Really bad habits. Or repeat nightmares that sound like: mom, I can make my own sandwich or worse– mom, I can tie my own shoes; ask for her number myself; tell my friends no…and what I’m also doing is trying to tell you no.
I believe the gray area between helping your toddler and your 17-year-old figure things out for themselves is called meddling.
And I have become such an expert at meddling for so long that it has turned into Jake believing he can’t do anything–which has killed his self esteem. However, the best part about being a So-Called Mom, is that there is always redemption waiting in the wings (ta-da!). Which means, I decided to pull the plug on myself, while also shocking him back to life, by signing him up for 2 weeks of wild, survival based Outward Bound goodness.
I understand that putting him on that bus full of strangers headed for the woods will be much like putting a cat in a toilet, but I’m going through with it because I know it’s what he needs.
It’s what we both need. He’s going to be out there, freaking out on the first day I’m sure, but kicking ass by the time it’s through. I’m also open to him not being too thrilled about the experience when I pick him up two weeks from now, but I do think he will be able to look back on this and get what he needs out of it. And if he doesn’t, well, there’s always next summer. 😉