I’ve been blogging on this grandmother/bubby blog for a little over three years, and have noticed that the “most searched for” phrases when reaching my blog seems to be “helicopter moms,” or “helicopter grandparents,” which leads me to believe one of two things: a) I write a lot about that topic, and/or b) grandparents are interested in that topic.
In any case, if I have thought I was a helicopter grandparent when I became a grandmother 8 years ago (wow, hard to believe it’s been that long), I realize I’m still grappling with my tendency toward helicopter parenting. Never mind grand-parenting.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I sent off our youngest son to Israel for yeshiva. This is our little child – our baby – you know the one I gave birth to years ago who is so cute that I still want to pinch his cheeks? Yep. That one. Actually, based on my history as a
devoted, sometimes nagging, somewhat over-protective mom, I thought it would be really hard. I, the one who has helicopter parenting/grand-parenting down to a science, was already visualizing my calling him daily on his cell phone and panicking when he wouldn’t answer the phone.
And indeed, few weeks before he left to yeshiva for the year, I could be spotted
nagging helping him shop and pack.
But besides that, I was fine. I’ve done this before. This was not my first child to leave home, and even this child had already been away from home for school already. So I did not have a hard time letting go.
Well, maybe the day he left was a little tough. Since he was taking a trip abroad, we (hubby and I) allowed ourselves to be just a tad hovering.
So the day he departed, my husband and I were that couple at the Swiss Air counter (if you were there and happened to notice) who moved extra pieces of clothes from one suitcase to the other in order to spread out the weight. Did you see us? If not, you may have noticed our very tolerant son who didn’t even seem to be embarrassed by us. He stood by our side and kept saying, “It’s okay, I don’t have to take so much….let’s just leave it behind…”
You’re thinking, who’s the traveler here? Isn’t it the young man and not us? You’re right.
But we’re not really so bad. Listen, we just had to make sure he had everything he needed, okay? Where he’s going there are no stores.
So my husband ran back to the car while the airline attendant took someone else in line, and he got a small suitcase which he found in the trunk. That became our son’s third piece of luggage, so that each piece shouldn’t exceed the weight requirements.
My son stood there totally relaxed probably thinking how he’ll be soon free from these hovering parents.
So that was basically it. After that we stopped nagging or hovering or reminding.
Unless of course you count the hard part which was watching him walk up the staircase leading to the gate. He met up with a friend who was flying on the same flight and the two of them started to chat. My phone battery died its hundredth death just at that time before I would commit my final touch of helicoptering this poor guy (and his friend) by asking them to pose for a picture. Again.
But seriously, it’s been two months since his departure, and I’m much better now than I thought I would be. I’m leaving him alone for the most part.
When he calls us (I won’t tell you how frequently we ask him to call – listen you don’t have to know everything about me!), I don’t keep him on the phone too long. It’s 11:30 his time when he calls and I just ask him about five or six, okay, seven or eight (I think) questions and then I tell him I love him and he says he loves me and then we hang up.
Not so bad, right?
And then my husband comes home from work and we discuss each of our talks with the son. We exchange stories of what he told my husband what he told me and so forth.
It works out. It really does. I sent a package to him with someone who traveled there and lives nearby.
And Chanukah is soon, so I’m preparing a package to have sent to him there, which is not really helicopter parenting but Jewish parenting.
And on that note, happy holiday season to all, and may we all keep in touch with our children in loving ways (without too much meddling).