Thursday, May 22, 2008

Taking flight; fighting to remain grounded

Every parent understands how difficult it is to trust another person with their child. When the Man-cub was a toddler, finding appropriate day care was difficult. What looked good on the outside or sounded ideal turned out to be horrific. Once he was old enough to attend school it was easier. Yet, I still had to put my faith in the system. I had to turn my baby over to people I hardly knew! I'd worry daily, but I had to relinquish some control. I couldn't keep him at home forever.
In the course of his 13 years he's gone on field trips. I've signed the permission slip. Once again, someone else will be handling the safety and well being of my spawn. Those field trips were always situations of keeping the kids in groups. No running amok. He saw "Blue Man Group" recently. It was an all day event, but I knew he was tucked neatly in a large group of kids and chaperones. Veering a bus in and out of Chicago traffic was more of a threat than anything else. He arrived home safely. A great time was had by all. The same thing occurred when he went to "Medieval Times" last year. All the students kept in a bundle. A very small risk that anyone would be lost. Today marks a change. On this day I am testing someone else's ability to look after my son. That person is himself.
As a reward for maintaining merit points and good grades, several students including the Man-cub are heading to Gurnee, IL. Six Flags Great America awaits 7th and 8th graders. Chaperones will be there, but the kids will be given free run of an amusement park. I handed him a wad of cash so he can eat plentiful and buy a souvenir if he desires. Yikes!
As I drove him to school I gave him the standard behavior & advice run down: 1) If you get separated from your group don't panic. Find an information booth. 2) Ask yourself: Would Mom let me do this? 3) Don't reveal how much money you have. 4) Don't give someone else your money. 5) Don't eat a ton and then get on the new Batman Begins ride. 6) Check in with chaperones at the designated time. Check your watch before getting in line for a ride. 7) Don't poop in the charter bus bathroom. You'll never live it down. 8) Take your glasses off before you get on a roller coaster or a ride that flips you around. 9) Scream so you don't lose your breath on that first drop of a roller coaster. 10) Have a great time and remember how much I love you.
I am only mildly panicked. I've never done this. I've never let my son go somewhere that requires me to put my faith in him being sensible. There have always been adults around to monitor nearly every move and corral the kids. An amusement park is a great place for him to spread his wings and fly. I'm just having a hard time staying on the ground while he takes flight.
[photo from the flikr album of: mr. oji]


  1. It's good that your fighting your helicopter tendencies. The way I see it, if he makes you proud, let it ride and keep giving him opportunities to become a mature adult. Now, if he fails and acts rogue-like, then...well, you know what to do. Sounds like you got this thing well handled. Just don't let your son know how uneasy you are. Like the saying goes, never let 'em see ya sweat.

  2. Yay! I have never outgrown my crazy love of Six Flags. Here they call it "Magic Mountain". I thought they were all called "Great America" when I got here... GA was the best travel destination at that age... or really, any age.
    Can't wait to hear about what a great day he had... and that you are finding yourself completely okay too. :)
    Lady, do I know about nerves...


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