For those of you who are the parents of children who have naturally progressed towards adulthood, I’m certain you’ll be able to identify with my words to follow. This stage of life is when we find ourselves having to accept that our kids are, in fact, mature adults. But does that mean that we have to relinquish our ingrained caretaker role and concern for their day to day safety even after they’ve flown the coop?
We find ourselves being ushered into an era where it is necessary to adopt the “cool factor” attitude for our kids’/adults’ sakes. It is crucial that they know that we trust them. We must convey to them that we know that they are viable members of society subsisting maturely while keeping themselves safe from harm…or so we hope. Their safety and well-being are always utmost on our minds.
A few years ago, however, I blew my “cool factor” to bitter shreds. My son texted me at 7:00 PM (you know, it’s dark then) to say that he was leaving Raleigh to come home for the weekend. I instantly began calculating in my head about what time to expect him. Per my calculations, 9:00 was the time to expect to hear the beautiful sound, “Mama, I’m home.” So, when the clock struck 9:00 and then several minutes began to pass, I decided I would casually text him just to get a feel for his general vicinity. So, I oh so “cooly “ (yeah, right) texted out, “Are you close?” I quickly received a text back from him saying, “Is the driveway close enough?” My cool factor was completely shot.
I have a vivid memory of my mother’s failed attempt at trying to be ever-so-cool when, as a teenager and on into college years, I would come home late. I would see the wildly rocking, empty lazy boy chair as evidence that she had been sitting up waiting patiently for my safe arrival and then “cooly” leapt out of view. I remember wondering why she felt like she needed to wait up like that. I knew where I was and that I was alright. ‘What’s the big deal, I wondered?’ I can now say in retrospect, “Thanks, Mom, for years of rocking in that chair patiently waiting. I love you, too.”
When I began my semi-adulthood period of heading off to college for my freshman year, my father felt the need to send along a fire escape ladder…just in case. I thought it was a pretty silly and unnecessary encumbering gadget. I think I was the only college student in the history of the world who went off to school prepared for a possible fire. If the truth be known, my dorm did catch on fire in the middle of the night one semester. Fortunately, we all escaped down the fire escape that was close by, so I didn’t have to use my ladder, but it could have certainly come in handy in another area. Hmmm….. it seems that fathers do know best. That same fire escape ladder resides under my bed now….just in case.
It’s interesting that now, as a parent, I see how lovingly appropriate and thoughtful it was for my mother and father to take preparatory measures for my safety. Upon reflection, I realize how fortunate I was just to have someone who loved me that much. Take heart, it only takes a few short decades for our off spring to develop total understanding for their parents’ behavior– that includes overeager text messages.
So, the bottom line is that the concern for our off spring and their safety is that there is never a cut off point no matter their age or maturity level. It’s an emotion that is embedded in our hearts for an eternity. It’s called LOVE.
So, I hope that my son was able to read between the lines that my text message asking, “Are you close?” was interpreted as “I love you.”
“And, yes, the driveway is close enough.”
Hunter Darden-personalized copies of my books may be ordered by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the link or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.