Being a parent is equal parts love and frustration. You are constantly walking a line between overbearing helicopter parent and watching your kid descend into the slacker that you once were. You don’t want to be seen as watching every little movement but you also want to be around to warn that that “there is a train coming!” Arrggghh!
Ok, now that I have that out of my system, onto more important things like helping him learn the subjunctive form of Spanish verbs for this week’s quiz. I am never quite sure how much I should be helping and he isn’t really welcoming to my overtures of assistance. A fine dance from one extreme to another sometime. Still, there are times when I simply MUST intrude to insure that the train doesn’t go completely off the rails and take all of us with it.
It is so odd to think about my own childhood and how little it compares to his. My parents didn’t take much interest in my school work unless I was in danger of flunking out — which thankfully I never was. Back in the day we were quite “free range” children who were supposed to take care of ourselves unless there was some major issue. With Joe, I know who he is hanging out with , what happened at the dance, who else is dating and what issues there are with nearly everyone involved. I know I never would have talked about this stuff with my parents, not because they would be concerned, but more because they didn’t care. Our lives were our own. They were busy keeping us clothed and fed so as long as we weren’t in danger, things were ok.
So here I sit some evenings wondering where I fall on the parenting scale. Am I hovering over him like a helicopter or abandoning him to his fate like a baby sea turtle scrambling for the ocean? I fall somewhere in-between, I am sure, but all I know is that sometimes it is tough to be a dad. As an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon once said, “I don’t think I’d have been in such a hurry to reach adulthood if I’d known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed.”
Previously on End of the Day: