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Accidental helicopter parent


Amelia wanted to do it herself. I wasn’t ready to let her.

Key ingredients – a scooter, a helmet, and a rapidly beating heart. Mixed together, it’s a cocktail from hell. And I don’t drink to begin with.

So there we were, heading to see the Sloan’s new house. Amelia, wanting to copy everything that Lindy was up to, was on her scooter. I couldn’t let go. She kept asking me to let her do it herself. After some tussling, I let her go to see what would happen… and she road her scooter.

She went downhill expertly. She was able to adjust direction (not very well, but she did it). And she knew the speed she was comfortable with, and stopped the scooter if it went too fast. It’s as if she grew 10 years in front of my eyes.

I know exactly what’s going on, but I don’t know how to fix.

You see, Amelia and Luka are at school (Luka starts Monday), or with Genevieve, for a huge chunk of their week. Micky and I get to be with them for a few hours every morning, and a few hours in the evening. So when it comes to the weekend, and I get to be in full on parent mode, it’s hard for me to realize that they’re not frozen in time.

That where I left them last weekend isn’t where they are today.

It’s somehow conceivable that they would have learned, grown, become more capable, or simply just changed.

It’s a really hard reality check, and it’s proven impossible to pull off.

And so, I’m pro-actively making sure I back off. Letting them run around the playground themselves. Giving them the marker, and watching the chaos ensue. Letting the scooter run down hill. It’s so, so hard, but the smile on their faces is also so, so gratifying.

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