When the youngest of my trio was born we were gifted a video baby monitor. Granted for the first year of her life my baby girl was rarely in her bed in her room. (There is another blog in THAT story.)
On the rare occasion she was in her room-in her bed-I could watch her. I could see every breath, every twitch, every tiny, sweet little thumb suck. And I watched. It was hard to take my eyes off the little screen.
As a mom I watched to be sure she was safe and secure and protected.
Later, I could watch her on daycare. There, on another little screen, I could see her. And I watched.
I watched her play. I watched her teachers interact with her. I watched her have tummy time. I could see her scoot towards the little stuffed toy she wanted to play with. She would wobble as she learned to sit and I would see. She would proudly rock back and forth in all fours almost ready to launch forward. I could see that too.
I could watch to be sire she was safe, happy and cared for. When she wasn’t with me all I could do was watch to see that she was protected.
We spend all those little years cradling them in our arms-protecting them. We put up monitors so we can watch them. Corners are wrapped. Outlets are covered. Gates are erected to baby proof the home in an attempt to keep them safe. Our eyes watch their every move. To protect them. To keep them safe. To help them feel secure. That’s our job.
But then the go out into the world.
It’s still our job to protect them. We just have to do so in a grander scale. There are more dangers, more threats, more to be scared of and more to be concerned about. But it’s still our job. To protect and keep safe.
So we watch. Wherever and however we can.
Video baby monitors. Daycare video feeds. We watch it all.
But then they go out into a bigger world. And we have to watch them differently–in more ways then one. We watch them navigate a world thru the lense of instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and any other new app they find. Watching becomes checking phones looking for dangers. We watch news feeds and story lines to see what they are doing and who they are doing it with. The dangers are scarier and harder to see. But they are there. So we watch. We watch to try and protect them…to keep them safe…to help guide them and help them stay on the straight path. So we watch and watch and watch.
And then they go and get bigger and older. But we don’t stop watching. In fact, if anything, we watch more.
My big girl turned 16 recently. Today she got her license. Who knew driving test appointments were so hard to get?? Unable to get one locally for several weeks she found one an hour and a half away. Her brother goes to college in the same town. Win-win.
We drove down. She passed her test. We saw the fella. Drove home. And then…
I can remember being 16 (sort of). I can remember the excitement of having that license and itching to take that first drive.
So I let her go. At night. Her first drive. Alone.
It was only a few miles. I’d recruited her boyfriend to follow her all the way. But she was still alone, without me, driving off into the night.
So I watched. For once I was grateful for technology. Thanks to an “app” I. An watch where she goes. For a few extra dollars I can see if she’s heeding my rules: no speeding, no phone, straight there and straight back.
So I watched. Second my second the little icon inched along towards her destination. And all I could do was watch. Watch to keep her protected, safe and secure.
The hardest part of parenting is watching.
Tomorrow I am bumming rides so she can take the car on her first solo drive. She’s driving to school. Has swim practice. Has to be back at school at 5p for a tailgate and the has to be at the rival high school at 6p to get ready to cheer at the big game. I have a work event so there was no way I could get her everywhere she has to be. It makes sense. My head knows that. My heart does not.
She’ll be driving. I’ll be watching. And riding since we are a one car family. That fact should make for a few more blogs…stay tuned.
Tomorrow she’ll drive. I’ll watch. Always watching. It’s what a mom does.