You won’t ever catch me saying I am the perfect parent – I am not. To be a perfect parent I would have to be a perfect person. I am not a perfect person. I can think of plenty of moments over my 30 years of parenting to-date that I could have done better with. Unfortunately, my deficiencies tend to stick with me more than any of the successes I could lay claim to.
Ah, but yesterday I experienced a glorious moment of parenting validation that I will not soon forget. Yesterday morning I wrote about my role as a life ruiner. My 12 year old daughter, Cheyenne, was distraught because I would not allow her to go with three of her friends to Acres of Terror in Leonard alone for four hours. My offer of compromise – me and Mike going with them – was turned down flat. The thought of having us along was more than the girl could bear the thought of – there was more horror in that than in the Acres of Terror apparently.
Fast forward to Cheyenne’s conversation with her friends later in the day wherein she tells them about her horrible mother who won’t let her go alone and lo and the startling discovery that her friends are just fine with the parental supervision. Suddenly, based solely on her peers’ evaluation, I became endurable as a human being again. Imagine that.
So, last night found Mike and me taking two separate cars (we couldn’t all fit in one) to Leonard to take three 12 year olds (one of the four got sick and couldn’t go) to Acres of Terror in Leonard. Being the consummate sissy I am, my plan was for Mike to go in with the girls while I waited in the car. I figured if the girls had to have a bodyguard my 6’3″ Jersey boy was about as good as I could offer. God bless Mike for being so gracious in agreeing to go with them.
Of course, Cheyenne laid out the boundaries to Mike before they went in. He was to basically stay behind them and keep an eye on them, but to not encroach on their space. Well, according to all accounts – Mike’s and the girls’ accounts – that lasted all of two minutes. It only took a couple of serious frights for the girls to push Mike out in front and to leave all three clinging to him and each other behind him as if he was a protective shield. According to Cheyenne, “I was hanging on to Mike for dear life!” According to Mike, “Cheyenne had a death grip on me!” According to the other two girls, they were darn grateful they had Mike with them. I have to tell you folks, when I heard the accounts of the experience I laughed until I cried.
I do believe that the visit to Acres of Terror and the realization that her mother’s concerns and restrictions on that activity were valid were a bit of an eye-opener for Cheyenne. I think she realized that her mother might just know something. Not that she is ever likely to give me my due on that front.
As for me, the validation that I made the right choice as a parent and an appreciation that the offspring had an aha moment made the night all worthwhile. Well, that and hearing the stories of how the girls were crazy scared, huddled together and clinging to Mike – validation and a good hearty laugh – I call that a good Friday night.
Dat eight hundred and forty-five of the new forty – obla di obla da