When I was a pre-teen, I used to feel like something was missing unless all my loved ones (at that time – Amma, Appa, and V) were right in front of me. I remember a time when I would accompany each one of these three people whenever they left the house – with the premise being that my being with them would somehow keep them safe. I did outgrow that particular madness within a couple of years or so, but man, what an EXHAUSTING time that was!!
I still have residues of that anxiety in me. I am happiest when I know the coordinates of N and the kids (and to some extent, Amma – even though she is now in India). As the girls are getting bigger and trying out their wings, they and some of their friends sometimes ride around the neighborhood for an hour or so in the evenings, chatting and playing in one friend’s house or the other. It’s fantastic, it’s what I enjoyed as a child, and absolutely what I want for the girls – to experience the fun and freedom of roaming and exploring outdoors. The tough part is the familiar twinge that I feel when they turn the corner of the road, and I can no longer see their little helmets bobbing up and down. I try to embrace that elusive target word of “Let Go” instead of my intrinsic (Helicopter) “Mom”. After all, I only allow the girls to step out of the house after repeating and re-repeating ad nauseum advice (especially to the little one) to stay with each other and with their friends at all times, and to be especially alert when crossing roads. I envy the well-adjusted moms who seem unflappable and let their children wander around the neighborhood unfettered (or maybe it just seems that way to me and they are a ball of anxiety too – man, I really hope so!). I think my comfort level will increase with time. Or at least that’s the hope.
For now, I try to be cool, and enjoy that my children are out having a good time and things are exactly as they should be. While still keeping one eye out for two little helmets and smiling faces that can magically restore that missing piece of my peace of mind.