Running Free

Running Free

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rite of Passage

I am undergoing a rite of passage- that of a parent letting her child travel for a sport event in a bus with some 40 other children without me there to protect him; wipe his nose, keep him warm, make sure he drinks enough liquid; eats a balanced meal; brushes his teeth, gets to bed on time, gets up on time, eats a good breakfast, keeps warm between swim events …the list is endless.

It is part of my unwritten list of duties as a parent, as a mother and a caregiver to insure the health and well being of all my wards- big and small are fully executed.

And thus I sit here on a sunny Friday afternoon wondering if my little guy is okay. Is he having fun in the five and half hour bus trip? Does he have enough of the right clothes to keep him warm and dry? Did I give him enough spending money? Did I remember to tell him where I put his books?

Who will give him a kiss goodnight and tell him, “I Love you”? Who will sit with him while he says his prayers – an extra big one for Grandpa Joe who is his role model for all thing sport related and for Papa Marvin- his guardian angel who has prevented many an unfortunate accident from ever happening. Who will make sure that he hadn’t tossed off the covers in one of his night time battles with the evil orcs?

Who I wonder? Who? And as I muse and ponder this new state of existence in my temporarily diminished capacity as mother and caregiver, I realize that he will be fine. He knows he is loved unconditionally. He has plenty of clothes in his suitcase and will have coaches and team mates to keep him plied with humor and food. He is a solid swimmer and handles pressure well. He will be fine; I pat myself on the shoulder, as if it were him here telling me all is okay.

I think back to the truly momentous moments that for me were rites of passage: the utter feeling of being airborne while taking my first spin around an ice skating rink on a pair of skates; the first time I went to the movie theater to see “Oliver” with my Aunt Mary Jo. How big and grown up I felt. I remember my first kiss from Jimmy Eaton, the preppie blonde from Andover who just wanted to sail and live off the coast of Maine in some lobster shack. How romantic and exciting it sounded to an impressionable adolescent.

The truth is, that while this trip may be a rite of passage for my son, the adventures and sights and sounds to which he will be exposed from older boys and girls wiser and more worldly than my little one, are just the beginning in his hopefully long and fulfilling life. But I know he is wise in so many ways beyond where I was at his tender age. And I know that the experiences he will take away from this first of many away sport team trips is a good thing. It is good for him. And it is good for me.

And so I sigh once more, the pit of my stomach tightening and kneading itself into a ball of glop that says to me, “relax, he will be fine.” It is you who needs to relax.

And so I shall. After all, I still can play caregiver and domestic diva to the other man in my life, my dear Husband (DH). And as a matter of fact, I believe he has made dinner reservations for this evening. A date – just the two of us.
Maybe this rite of passage stuff isn’t so hard after all. It’s all in the how you handle it….

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