Parenthood is like a goddamn Rubik's Cube; it looks like it should be relatively straight forward to solve, but it is somehow impossible and has a way of making you feel pretty stupid, there's always a new challenge and just when you think that you've got things figured out a new problem lies around the corner. When my two oldest daughters were little, I remember thinking that I couldn't wait until they were older. I imagined all of the fun things we could do together and dreamed about the type of people they would grow up to be.
Now that they are a little older, I wish that time would slow down. I find myself longing for the days when they were littler, and worrying about how I am going to steer them through this crazy thing called life. I mean, seriously, do any of us make it through our childhood and adolescence unscathed??? The world just seems so big and scary sometimes, and with so many dangers and so many terrible things happening all around us, it feels as though it is impossible. As a parent, I feel so vulnerable, and really at a loss.
My two oldest children are coming to an age where they are wanting to venture further from the "nest"; they are wanting to ride their bikes to the park, and wanting to go and call on their friends. We are very lucky to live in a great neighbourhood that is very safe, and the park and friends' houses are relatively close, but it is still so hard to let go of that control. I know that it is important for them to have their freedom and independence, and I fully expect them to push the boundaries and make mistakes along the way. I want to trust that I have taught them enough to know right from wrong and good from bad. I want to trust that I have taught them enough about dangers that may be lurking, and know that they will be able to identify a scary situation and handle it with confidence and ease, but the truth is, it never really feels like it is enough. How can we ever really teach them enough??
My husband and I have had many serious talks with them and have done things like roll play and enacted various situations that might arise. We talk to them about things that happen in the news, trying with all our might to educate them without making them jaded or too fearful of the world that we live in. Even though we've had these serious talks with them I am skeptical as to whether or not they are truly comprehending the magnitude of the seriousness. I mean, how can they, right? They are young, innocent and naive. They are trusting and kind. Would they be able to be "rude" to an adult stranger and ignore them if they were asking for help finding their lost dog? Would their "gut instinct" kick in and alarm them that something about this situation is not right, and if so, would they trust themselves enough to trust their gut? Would they remember all of the things that we've taught them and talked to them about? How can I let go of this control? It feels like we just can't possibly do enough.
The worst part of this whole thing??? We've only just begun. They are just at the beginning of this "needing freedom" stage, and over the years I will need to let go of more and more control as my children go out and face the world. Right about now the idea of quitting our jobs, selling everything, moving to the middle of nowhere and living off the land away from anything and everything seems like a pretty reasonable solution.