I’m sure it’s been said a million times… one can never be fully prepared for motherhood, but the one thing I was MOST unprepared for was just how vulnerable my child would be and how helpless I’d feel to protect her. Of course, I knew intellectually, before becoming a mother, that my child would be vulnerable, that I’d have to teach her about stranger danger and about the bad things that happen in the world, about the bogey man, but I never imagined the overwhelming sense fear I would experience when it came to trusting my precious child into someone else’s care.
When I went back to work at the end of my maternity leave, I was a bundle of nerves, I cried constantly, could hardly function that first week back and must have driven Loveness insane with the constant phone calls and sms’s. Sending her to school terrified me even more. I think I cried every day for a week and the only thing that made it bearable was that I knew the woman who owned the school.
So you can imagine how utterly terrified I was when Ava went to the theater on Friday, with some of her school friends and Mom’s without me! Her first ever outing without either Walter or I with. It was a hugely big deal for me, I don’t trust just anyone with Ava’s care, and we only made the decision to let her go after I’d agonized over every detail and drilled my friend about a thousand different things. What car would they be travelling in? What was the adult to child ratio? What car seat would she be sitting in? Would she check in with me regularly? Would she swear to protect and care and be kind to my precious child?
Walter is usually the helicopter parent, as long as I can see Ava I’m fairly comfortable with not needing to shadow her constantly. But after much hand wringing and angst, Walter eventually had to give me a pep talk about letting go a little and allowing her to go. After all, we trust our friends and they had trusted us with the care of their little girl previously. So reluctantly I agreed to let her go.
She was besides herself with excitement and I was besides myself with anxiety on Friday morning. I was at work when the Mom’s arrived to collect Ava and I literally started to hyperventilate thinking about all the horrible things that could happen…. a car accident, she could get lost, she could get stolen, she could choke, I was a wreck!
Thankfully, my friends totally understood and I immediately started to feel calm when the first photo got sent me of Ava strapped in a car seat.
The girls landed up having a fabulous time watching Sleeping Beauty at The People’s Theatre and once I got over myself and my obsession of me being the only one who could protect her, I realized that it was actually good for her as well.
She had such a great time that she did not want to come home and actually cried when she got dropped off at home on Friday afternoon. But I really do wonder if it will ever get easier, this worrying, this dark realization I have had since becoming a mother, that our children are so vulnerable and there is only so much we can do to protect them?