Today I stood back-to-back with my firstborn and nearly cried. “No way! There is no freaking way! You are absolutely NOT taller than me, you little gangster!” How in the world is my tiny baby that used to play “roll the ball” now MY height?! He smiled and responded, “Cool, can I go ride my bike?” In a full-on pout, I answered, “Yeah, just don’t get killed.”
I think I repeat the phrase “Don’t get killed” at least 3 times a week. Crossing a parking lot, “Don’t get killed.” Playing two doors down, “Don’t get killed.” Taking a bath, “Don’t get killed. You know people drown in an inch of water!”
I am fiercely protective of my kids. Too protective maybe. I’ve convinced myself I do not “helicopter parent,” but I will keep them as innocent as I can. I can’t promise I won’t microchip my sons in their sleep. But it is all in the name of love, I swear.
My goal is to outwit, outplay, and outlast each one of my man-cubs.
That means saying no to getting your own phone (today I joked that firstborn could get one at 19). It means we aren’t watching that movie because I already know about its immoral qualities (when did animation stop being kid-friendly?). It means teaching them the Bible is our standard, not Society (even if it’s not cool).
I will continue calling each them “Sugarcake” and I will bribe them for hugs.
I will arm wrestle them and let them laugh at my lack of frisbee/basketball/soccer skills.
I will answer questions about sex and I will pray for them to not live in my basement at 40.
I will laugh at fart jokes and learn about the importance of car engines.
Just as important as what I will do is what I will NOT do. Because I love them too much to lower the bar. And because I have future grandkids that better not be punks due to Grandma’s poor parenting back in the day.
I will not tolerate disrespect, especially towards me. I will still lovingly drop-kick you to the floor in 0.2 seconds if you try.
I will not passively parent, allowing you to do as you please simply because you’re a guy (Lord, don’t let me become a grandma any time soon).
I will not accept “no news as good news,” which means I will likely pry into your heart, even if it hurts.
I will not stop dancing in the kitchen, rapping Ice Ice Baby in the car, or showing up unexpectedly at your school. Because hashtag YOLO, bro.
And one day it will all come full circle. Not today, not tomorrow. But one day. When you catch yourself hugging your son for far too long. When you hide tears as your baby goes on that first date. When you worry you’re screwing up your kids. Your mom felt those same things and is cheering you on!