Both my girls have their fair share of anxiety – I can be credited for passing that down to them, I guess. Neither one is worse than the other, and while their anxieties are similar, they’re also pretty different and have to be handled differently.
Brooke is indecisive and has separational anxiety – she wants to spend the night with a friend, but then calls me at 10:30 not able to sleep, she invites friends over but decides later that she wishes they would leave. She wants to go to Tulsa but she doesn’t so “mom-just-make-the-decision-for-me-mmmkay?”
This week she went to Camp with her school for the week. She was fretting about this far before time to leave, but stated that she wanted to go. I paid the $250 fee. I purchased and packed and prepped and prayed.
There is no contact with parents, no cell phones.
Yet the very first night, I get a saddy mouse phone call from her. I tell her she’s okay, and I weep a bit. She’s my baby, afterall.
The second day (today) she calls, I firmly tell her that she’s okay and she needs to stay. The camp director gets on the phone and attempts to convince me to pick her up. I decline. I request something similar to tough-love with an emphasis on the love part. It sucks.
If every time she feels a little sad I rush to kiss away the tears, I’ve not taught my child how to deal with her emotions on her own.
If every time she decides she doesn’t want to be somewhere, I rush to pick her up, I haven’t taught her anything about making and standing behind her decisions.
If I allow her to be a distraction to others at camp, I’ve taught her that the world centers around her, and it’s okay to make everything about yourself.
If I bail her out of every uncomfortable situation, what happens in the job interview, the meeting of the in-laws, etc?
So while I wanted to jump in the car and drive two hours to wrap that sweet girl in my arms and cuddle her and bring her home where she’s safe and secure and comfortable, I didn’t.
I parented. And parenting doesn’t always feel good.