In case it hasn’t come across loud and clear here, I am a total helicopter mom. I was an overprotected child, but compared to my childhood, my kids are wrapped in (sanitized) bubble wrap and locked away in Rapunzel’s tower. I may not be the most protective mom in the world, but I’m certainly an also-ran.
And I make my daughter crazy.
There’s an awesome park near our house with a 2-story slide. I say awesome not because I play on the equipment (I’m too afraid of heights for that nonsense, though as a kid I’d have lobbied to live there), but because my child adores it. And I don’t really mind it; it’s got that nice foam rubber stuff on the ground, shaded picnic tables, a mister for miserably hot summer days, and decent cell reception. As far as parks go, it’s pretty swanky. Just don’t ask me to go down the big slide. Or even climb up on the walkway. I’m getting wimpier as I get older.
My hesitation is that the play area is marked for ages 5-12, and my child is not. She’s 4. Big for her age, but clutzy like her mom. Also, big kids don’t really tend to take as much care with my little miracle as I’d like. They think she is a stupid baby, and even those that don’t physically play rough with her end up hurting her through their indifference. I think mean thoughts at these kids who blow off my beautiful, sweet, friendly daughter, but otherwise what can I do?
Burn. I sit there and burn. For Anya, and for all the kids who were ever snotty to me. Which was kind of a lot…I wasn’t the most socially adept child.
So when we pulled up to the park the other day and it was full of middle school kids, can you blame me for insisting we go to a different park?
I made it up to her, though. We returned to Awesome Park the next day. There were still older kids there, but they were not as old.
Anya sees these kids and shouts, “Look — it’s Anya’s new friends!”
Oh, my heart.
Of course, that is not how it worked out at all. The kids thought she was a stupid baby and wouldn’t play with her.
But all was not lost; some of her true friends showed up, and a good time was had by all. Because while I am often right, I am not always right.
And that’s a good thing. I like her view of the world better. I’d probably be happier if I thought of strangers as new friends.