I worry about my little girl a lot; I guess I always have. I think about her safety and well-being all the time. These thoughts don't subside even when she is sitting right next to me. I'm certain that sometimes I border on the side of being overprotective. Some parents have the attitude that you have to let children be children, that they have to be given the chance to try things and make mistakes so that they can learn how to cope and survive and get by. This description does not fit me in any way. The sound of my daughter crying or the sight of tears rolling down her cheeks have always torn at my heart and spurred me to increase my vigilance. I can watch my daughter playing a simple game and my mind starts to visualize all of the ways that she could get injured. I know that these thoughts are remote possibilities, unrealistic, and maybe even unhealthy. There have been plenty of times when they have gotten in the way of letting her live and experience important lessons or moments. I realize that I need to be more sensible and practical and realistic when it comes to how I protect her.
My worries don't just limit themselves to physical injury. I want to be there to shield her from all of the turmoils in life that I know weigh on her. Doctor's appointments, oral reports and exams at school, living in two different households. Of course, I understand that to learn to deal with the trials of life, she needs to teach herself how to minimize stress and how to put things into perspective. She must learn to do things on her own so that she can grow into an independent and successful adult. However, just because I am cognitively aware of all these points, doesn't necessarily translate into my giving her the space she needs or removing the cloying shield of armor that I oftentimes try to erect.
However, sometimes, just when I start to forget, she lets me know that she is growing up and is doing just fine without my meddling and worrying. I had been assuming all summer long that she was dreading going back to school this fall. Ever since she started going to school full time, she has never looked forward to facing the end of summer vacation. There was always strong trepidation thinking about going back to the classroom. This year I started once again to build up the fortress of protection and worry regarding the start of school and she told me with a hug, "Daddy I'm kind of excited about going back to school this year."
I will end this blog entry with a link to a blog entry from my wonderful friend Paul that is so beautiful it makes me cry. His post, called "Pulling back", is so relevant and appropriate to my thoughts here. (Paul I miss you and our time together.)