I am a helicopter mom. I can't help it. Gman is my only child. My baby (albeit a 9 year old and 60+ pound baby.) It is amazing that my son is as brave and bold as he is at times considering I am usually no more than two steps behind him. When he is afraid of something - it's usually because I have had some underhand influence on him. For instance, he is scared to jump out of trees he climbs. I attribute this to whenever he was little and tried to jump off something;I was always there with the "be careful. you don't want to hurt yourself. This would also be followed by me grabbing him to get him down off of whatever he was trying to jump from. Flash forward six years; it was all I could do to hold myself back when I stayed at his first official boys chorus rehearsal. I had to watch him navigate his way not knowing anybody. As he walked around looking lost, it tore me up inside; but I knew he wouldn't make friends if I was there holding his hand the whole time. I am afraid to let him fail.
He is always the smallest one in his class and is an easy target for bullies because he doesn't believe in fighting back. He always said that he didn't want the bully to feel the he or she was trying to make him feel. Imagine my surprise when he stood up for a friend who was being bullied by telling the offender "If you mess with him, you mess with me". Of course this was followed up with me having to march into the offending child's teacher's classroom when said child put my kid into an arm lock. Yes, I am THAT mom. I let him try to figure out how to work through taunting and verbal spats. He's nine and sadly, not all kids are as nice as he is. He has to learn to defend himself, but I draw the line when hands are laid on him.
He has an insane amount of confidence despite having such a neurotic mother.. I have watched him tackle numerous performances with the stage presence of a pro - even if these are just elementary school musical productions. The role of Aladdin as a first grader scared the crap out of me, but he wasn't even nervous, I have watched him lead his friends into song and dances he choreographs and produces. He is destined for big things.
Save for when I am at work or he has at school; I am usually around him all of the time. Even if he is outside playing, I am in earshot of him. His dad and I are divorced and maintain two separate households, but I usually find myself with them a lot more than I am by myself. Why, because my son just seems to want me around. So it came as a shock and yet not a shock when he told me he wanted to go the music camp his boys chorus was having.
Like sleep away for six nights without me or his dad? Is he crazy? Is he for real?
It is all he has been talking about since he joined the chorus in March. It was a pretty penny, but his dad came through as always and financed it. Meanwhile I am bemoaning "SIX DAYS WITHOUT YOU, how will I survive??" He has been so excited about this telling me that six days is nothing and we will see him on parent's day. Sure he has been gone that long before, but he was with his dad. This is TOTALLY different. We've talked about what we will pack, what songs he will work on while he is there, who does he think he might get as a room-mate, etc. This is big stuff. My big kid is going to camp!
Until last night when he broke down crying.
"I don't want to go to camp. Six days IS too long. I don't want to be away from you and daddy for that long!" Again, my fears have managed to manifest themselves in him. I can't sit there and tell him about my amazing experiences at Fort Scott - I HATED camp. My parents sent me because they thought it would be good for me and so I would make some friends. It didn't work, I was just as anti-social then as I am now. Back then bullying was merely classified as teasing, but I was teased so hard they had to switch cabins for me. TWICE!
What is a mom to do? I mean besides the fact that is not refundable and he leaves in 3 days - I don't have a choice but to make him go. He was afraid because I made him that way! I did my best to reassure him how awesome of an experience this will be. This will bond him further with the other basses. He will be with some of them for the next seven years. This can help him achieve his future goal as Part Leader when he gets older. This will help him get to the Performance division faster than if he didn't go because of how many songs he can check off. (He has to memorize 39 songs and sing the bass line harmony. Did I mention five of these songs are hymns in Latin?) Plus it is only SIX days and FIVE nights. I told him the first day he may be a bit scared, the second day he will be more used to it, the third day he will be too busy having fun to remember he was scared, the fourth day we will visit and the last two day will leave him begging for five more.
This was enough to convince him that it might not be so bad. The unknown is scary, but I don't want him to be like me. I'm so afraid of what will might happen that I miss out on a lot of opportunities, I don't want him to miss out on a great experience because he is worried about me being alone. I don't want the independent streak that started at the end of kindergarten "NO MOMMY, you are NOT walking me to the gate anymore. You can watch me from the car like the other mom's. I'm a big boy") to wilt and die. This is the kid that had me come up with a code for I love you, so I could say it when I dropped him off so he wouldn't be embarrassed in front of his friends. The kid who told me if I quit PTA then I would be setting a bad example for him because we don't quit just because we didn't get the part we wanted. (This is the same speech I gave HIM when he wanted to quit show choir when he got Cogsworth instead of Lumiere.) He is brave and fierce and he is going to take music camp by storm.
In the meantime, I need to let him go and try new things and NOT let him know how much it scares me. I need to let him be a nine year old boy. Yes I even need to let him fail. He will soar like an eagle because he has been my copilot and nobody helicopters like I do!