Maybe it was because my daughter was an only child that I was (and still am) a nut case about protecting her from the dangerous, hurtful, harmful, sad, scary, bad, uncomfortable, embarrassing and downright not nice things in life. In other words, LIFE. I did it out of love, of course. Not a need to control her…just a need to control the world around her. If I am to be truly honest, and at my age I have found it to be a whole lot easier than trying to remember some fabrication (heck, most days I’m grateful just to remember my name), I think I was more afraid of how I would live in a world without her than how it might affect her. To understand my dependence on her we will have to go back in time…..
I had a difficult childhood and can remember much of the pain and fear that I lived with and I never wanted my child to suffer in that way so I went in the opposite direction. I was going to do everything possible to make sure she never had to experience it. In theory it is a noble idea but now that I am a wise old sage, I can see where it could have crippled her emotionally. Alas, if we only could go back and redo the past. Many of the things I tried to protect her from I would still do as they were sensible, normal things but the over-the-top things I did, I wish I could go back and erase….or at least tone down. I worried about everything. Child abductions, childhood diseases, molestations, bad influences, were Smurf’s really evil, fires, drowning, choking (I wouldn’t let her eat a hard piece of candy without breaking it up for her until she was like 8), animals coming out of the woods to attack her as she walked down the driveway to get the mail (I would look out the window the whole time eventho it was only 75ft from the house), I wouldn’t let her have her bedroom windows open at night cause she slept in the basement and someone might try to get at her (we were surrounded by woods so who might be lurking in the woods at night?), I wouldn’t let her ride her bike on the road, or walk by herself, I didn’t want her babysitting, I didn’t want her to eat anything if I wasn’t home (see choking above) or to stay overnight anywhere (there were a few families that I felt were “safe” and she could stay overnight there), I could go on but you get the sad picture, I’m sure. Over-the-top crazy woman.
So you must be wondering what mental facility my daughter is living in as there should be no way that she is normal after having that kind of upbringing but I am happy to say that God was merciful and she lived through it and turned out to be a very laid-back, non-fearful, funny, non-neurotic person. And did I save her from all the world’s pain? No. Of course not. To fully live we must experience pain to understand joy, to cry to understand happiness, to grieve to understand love. Sad thing is, that eventho I just wrote those words and believe them in my head, my heart still wishes I could have “saved” her from those experiences. Is that sick or what? And eventho she is married and a mom herself, I still try to protect her and her kids from the world. And I still have to ask myself, “Is it for her or for me?” and I struggle with the answer I know to be true in my heart. The real person I am trying to save from pain is ME.