I am a nag. Well, more of a hovering worrier. That sounds slightly more positive. “Do you need anything?” “How are you?” “What’s wrong?” “Tell me what’s happening.” “Why do you have a weird look on your face?”
I can’t help it. I’m, of course, referring to my teenaged daughter. She’s an only child and I have a need to “fix” and “help.” Even when I’m not actually fixing or helping the situation. It seems that I have mentioned this before. It’s a bit of a personal epidemic for me.
As a mom who was diagnosed with multiple health issues before and after my daughter was born, I’ve had to invent a new parenting model for myself. It wasn’t easy for my husband, our daughter or me. And the outcomes weren’t always good. There’s the ever-present, every-parent-has-it guilt. Whether it’s about spending too little time in the playground or not having enough energy to play in general. It’s torture to see your child sad about what you can’t do, when all they want is to spend time with you. I could sing and read to her, but running around in the park didn’t happen. It couldn’t.
Thank God for my husband, for a million different reasons. He took her to the playground, to ride her scooter, sleigh riding. They’ve always had great adventures. He brought her to friend’s houses, picked her up. The list goes on and on.
Each stage of growth for her meant that I had to grow & change as well. When our kids are babies, they need everything from us. But I think life presents more of a challenge as they age. We’re forced to learn when independence must be encouraged and when to step in. That’s something I’m still struggling with. Mostly because she’s an only child. Have I mentioned that, at least 200 times? (Feeble attempt to justify the hovering. 😬). But when you combine normal parenting guilt with a hefty dose of “sick mom” guilt? It adds another layer of “oh nooooo” to an already tough situation.
There was a moment at the first college we visited last week, when I wanted to say, “go on without me. Save yourselves!” This happened as we were walking up a hill so steep, it reminded me of San Francisco! And the headline blaring in my guilt-ridden head was that I’d already ruined the day and we hadn’t even started the tour! An irrational notion, for sure, but that’s what I felt at the time. It was tense for a little while, I had to stop more than once. But we all made it to the top and had a great visit.
And since I’ve brought up San Francisco, I’ll share another anecdote. During a visit there two summers ago, we ventured over to the Golden Gate Bridge. After we arrived, we decided to be brave and walk across. If you’ve been there, you know how windy it gets. Well, we started this trek, walking single-file. I was the last one in our line and kept thinking that it was a bad idea. It was freezing and the bridge was vibrating. But I refused to end their fun. I was not going to be the first one to change course. And, mercifully, I wasn’t! All of a sudden, they decided we should turn back. I felt a mix of strange relief and major joy that I hadn’t wrecked another plan for the family, being “sick mom” and all. It was way too windy and we all lost our nerve. But that was then. Now back to the present!
Regardless of any fatigue or pain I felt during last week’s road trip, I wouldn’t have missed any of it for the world. This is for my daughter. And that’s everything to me. This is HER time! HER future. Not long from now, I’ll just be a recurring guest character in her life story. She’ll be making things happen for herself: choices, mistakes, plans. And that’s exactly as it should be.
So, while I can, I’ll hover, (even though I’ve made promises to multiple people – including my daughter – that I’ll try not to), and guide her through the various obstacle courses life brings. I know she’ll still ask for my advice, even before I’ve nagged her into it. LOL.
Nothing will keep me from participating in my life, or my family’s, in whatever way I can. Not RSD, lupus, or anything else. Not even ridiculously steep hills. Because, ultimately, life is a ridiculously steep hill. We’ll just keep boosting each other up as we go. If it’s slow going, I’ll just meet you at the top. 😉
Be kind to one another.
Peace & painlessness,