I was slapped in the face the other day. It hurt, stung and even made me cry. It was not because I was in a fight or even arguing with someone, it was because I needed it. A “wake up” moment, a hands in the air “what are you thinking” moment.
It seems as if I had gotten so far away from being rational as a parent that I was acting totally …..stupid.
Some would just shrugged it off and others may say, “that’s okay”, while some would jump in and say, “this is the moment you needed.” I am not trying to be harsh on myself or too lenient either but when you are a parent, you can sometimes act really stupid…yes, stupid.
I knew the day would come that my daughter would drive a car. I just kept putting the thought off that some how that moment was really, really far a way, The other day I was sitting with her in the testing area for just that, her getting approval that she would have a license. Then she came up to me with a huge smile on her face I smiled but somewhere deep in side of me was crying. My little girl was no longer a little girl. She was headed out on her own. Selfishly I said to myself, “I have the car all the time, she will need me to drive her everywhere.”
Then, by the grace of God, her dad bought her a car. At first, I was excited and grateful for such a gesture, then, I realized, she did not need me anymore. She had her own transportation. I began to act silly, yelling at her, grounding her for no reason and just being… a parent.
I was conflicted, could not understand why I was so agitated at the new purchase or why I was just being mean. It was a wonderful thing that she had this new car. A symbol to her that she was growing up and could now travel anywhere she wanted, what a wonderful thing! In my mind it terrified me. What if she got hit by someone, does she know how to pump gas, does she know how to stop in time? The scenarios raced through my mind. I was not happy, scared and fearful that she would be hurt.
I think mostly I was afraid she would not need me anymore. That she would be a ghost, someone who would see me, “on occasion.” My life has been dedicated to this wonderful child. Each day has been filled with, how to take care of her. I was sad, I felt like she did not need me anymore.
“What!” You think that after all this time all I would do is walk away?” She bellowed at me one day while talking about some issue that we were not agreeing on.
This was not one of her temper tantrums I was used to, it was an adult reaction to someone else acting like a child and that someone else was…me.
The slap in the face. The moment of truth.
I can say that since that day I am more understanding and tolerant of her stepping out. I attempt to treat her like a young adult and even try not to over protect. Not an easy task but one that I do while rubbing the side of my face knowing that there is a little sting still there.