I admit, I have never really empathized with helicopter parents. Loving your kids? Of course. Wanting only good things for them, to protect them from bad? Yup. Trying to give them all the skills they need to succeed? On it.
But the worry, the lack of perspective, that I never got. I got a package from Kai’s Kindergarten teacher the day before his First Day, with a cotton ball, a kleenex, and a peppermint tea bag. It also had a cute poem in it, telling me that I would be sad on Kai’s first day, but I could stroke the cotton ball to remember his sweet, soft, spirit, I could use the kleenex to dry my tears, and I should put my feet up and enjoy the cup of tea and reflect on this momentous day.
I think my First Day emotions were more like “WHOO-HOO! FINALLY! HE’S IN SCHOOL ALL DAY FIVE DAYS A WEEK! He’s so ready! I’m so ready! Let’s do this!”
I did enjoy the tea, however.
My lack of helicoptering with my kids left me totally unprepared, though, for what happened when I got a text from my Elizabeth, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, that said, “my water just broke.”
Whoosh. My everything flew across that ocean. My focus, my energy, my prayers, my breathing, my thoughts. I woke up every 90 minutes that night. The next day I had the day off from work, and I’d planned some to-dos to do, but instead found all I could do was a. walk and pace and breathe and think about her or b. curl up on the couch and watch reruns of Call The Midwife.
We’ve had a bug running through the house, and when Andrew came home from work and saw me curled on the couch, he said “are you feeling sick or just worried about Elizabeth?” and I answered, “honestly, I can’t tell the difference.” (HSP shout-out!)
I assumed once the baby was born, I’d Whoosh back to my present life, wishing her well and glorying in baby photos…but not so much. I wake and I think of them. Lulls in work, I think of them. And when we had a text exchange last night and I could tell she was so tired with new-mommy stuff (which is, really, an insane unreasonable time and why on earth is it designed this way? It’s like those stupid penguins marching for miles – who designed these systems?) and Andrew was talking to me and I couldn’t hear him because I was there, with her, and…
…well, in bed later that night, I realized I had to let go. It’s coming from a place of love, but it’s not healthy to me and my family. I can be an amazing Aunt Erika, and a supportive big sister, and love them to pieces, without being a hovering mess. I took a deep breath, and asked (implored, demanded, whatever) that God hold her and that new baby very very very very very close…and I flew my helicopter back to the States. I parked it. I got out. I snuggled my husband in bed, and thanked God for my own sweet babies (kids, hulking boys, whatever) and I went to sleep.