BayouKidz: Making Progress
Learning To Let Go
article by Cindy G. Foust
Well, that was quick. January just sped by, and here we are embracing the month of love. I know I’m not the only one who thinks time is flying at warp speed the older I get. In my now 50th year of life, however, I wish it would slow down just a bit. I don’t want to get old, BayouLife nation. I don’t want to feel these creaks and pops and pains and twinges.
I swear, I participated in my son’s pep rally a few months ago, and my hip flexor has yet to recover. Well, my hip flexor and my pride. I still shudder when I think back to that momentary lapse of good judgment in my life. In case you are wondering, 50-year old moms should never JuJu on the Beat, not even in the privacy of their bedroom, or their daughter’s bedroom. When I tried to audition my moves for my 11-year old little darling, and give her a private viewing, she promptly hid under the covers. That should have been my warning right there…DON’T DO IT! RUN, FOREST, RUN!
Oh, but no, I had to JuJu on my Beat alright, and then to add insult to injury, I tried to do a toe touch above my head that morphed into the splits (or half-splits) depending on what angle your camera had. Hip Flexor? What hip flexor? I have permanently altered the way I will walk for the rest of my life, and both my children, not just my son, are currently living under an alias name in Seattle.
Speaking of my children, and embarrassing them from time to time, I have had quite a few tough parenting moments lately. Does anyone else ever have those days when they just feel like they can’t do anything right? I’ve been a mother for the last nearly 19 years, a role I cherish more than anything else I have or will ever do in my life. But gosh, it has its challenges.
Once such incident was a few weeks ago when I put my nearly 19-year old son on a cruise ship for a school-related trip. Shoot, when I was growing up in Butcher’s Hollow (I didn’t really grow up there, but it sounds so cool to pretend I did, because I love Loretta Lynn), the most extravagant school trip we ever took was to Skatetown (shout out to my good friend Kathy Porter) where our Moonlight Couple Skating was closely monitored, and we did the Hokey Pokey. Or that one time, when we got to go to the zoo, but I got so sick on the tea-cup ride that went round and round, that I threw up all the way back to the school. Believe me, that was a fun time that was had by all.
Yeah, school trips have come a long way, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, here I am chasing a rabbit again and forgot where the rabbit hole was. Oh yeah, dropping my son off at the cruise ship port.
I wrote a column last year, actually one of my favorites that I’ve ever written, about how hard I have to work to overcome the fear of losing one of my children. It’s a constant struggle for me, and one I have to bathe in prayer constantly. I actually thought I was making progress until I had to drop my son at the door of the Love Boat, and Julie the Cruise Director was no where in sight for me to ask would she please keep a close eye on my boy (or give me her cell phone number, so I could check in regularly, whichever would be easier for her.)
I’m sure I’m getting the eye roll from some parents right about now, because what’s the worst thing that could happen on a cruise ship? In my mind, a lot could happen. But for me, it was also just the actual process of dropping him off and heading back home without him. It dawned on me that this is what college would feel like, so for one week, I walked by my son’s room everyday and smoothed the covers on his bed about 1,000 times. Also, I could only have very limited contact with him, because, well, as you know, there aren’t many phone lines in the ocean. Thank God for modern technology though, and I was able to SnapChat him every day, because you might be in the middle of the ocean, friends, but you can still access social media!
It was a tough, long week at the Foust house, let me tell you. But as the week progressed, it dawned on me about mid-week, readers, that I was making progress. Progress as a parent, progress with a fear that keeps me in a death grip most days; and progress in learning to let go (just a little.) It’s been my experience that life is about choices (here I am quoting my parents again), and I had to make the choice about half-way through that week that I could stay in the place of fear or worry, or I could move out of that place and trust that my son was making good choices and he would come home safely to his family.
And guess what? He did. He texted me on multiple occasions, and he was having the time of his life, snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and being exposed to some pretty cool people who loved sharing their cultures with him. There was only that one time when he Snapchatted me and said they were in a storm and the boat was flipping and flopping through huge waves and everybody was getting sick that I got somewhat regressed with my progress. But, when I told my son I was worried that this might be the Titanic, he said, “Mom, we aren’t on the Arctic side” I did feel a little better. Or when the Captain came on the speaker and told the passengers they shouldn’t be worried, because he had actually driven through a hurricane before, I felt a little better that our Captain at least had Category 5 experience.
So for you parents out there that lie in bed some nights like I do, and wonder if you are doing anything right, or wonder if you will ever get past your fears or your worries, or worry that your parenting skills need a rehab class, let me say that there are plenty of us out there with the same thoughts and worries. This parenting thing isn’t for sissies or for the faint of heart. But it’s the most rewarding thing and the most gratifying thing I will ever do in my life. Agree?
When that big ole 6’4 kid got off the Love Boat and gave me a big hug, well, my heart just danced (not a JuJu on My Beat dance, but maybe a Breaker’s Only dance.) And I realized on the drive home, with my good friend, Pat, who also struggled with letting her son go “that far away from home to another country,” that rather than sulk and stew over the next few months while he’s still at home, that I needed to work really hard at trying to just enjoy these days we have left with my baby boy in the next room.
Thanks again, dear readers, for letting me share my trials, my challenges, my shortcomings and my fears with you. I really think it’s better than therapy, and hopefully, just hopefully, sometimes my column reaches through these pages and gives one of you a little comfort or a little hope to know that other parents are navigating the same parenting trail with you.