This Bipolar Life: Exploring Boundaries

Actually the weekend was fairly good and then late Saturday afternoon presented us with free tickets for the kids to go to Emerald City Comic Con, something they have always wanted to do and involves a huge amount of fun (and tons people – we’re talking 80,000). So at crack of dawn Sunday morning arrives and as it turned out I wasn’t going to be able to go with them. They would have to attend solo as a little group. My little group.

I was able to arrange for an adult to drive them and be on-site if there was an emergency (thank goodness!) but while they were there they would be wandering within the crowds of thousands. That’s right. Thousands of people. Surrounding my little crew of three. Now, my oldest is nearly 16, and the other two are 13 and 12, it’s not like they are small children who can’t navigate a building, especially together. I knew they were going to have tons of fun though and us parents had decided this was their chance to make a “just us kids” kind of memory and they could pull it off together as a team. Mind you this same team argues about whose turn it is on the xbox and can’t remember to do their laundry regularly so I was more than a little uncertain of its success potential!

As you can imagine I then spent the next hour of the morning prep time dishing up eggs and pancakes while offering up instructions on how to “keep safe”, “stay together”, “make good choices”, etc. It wasn’t until they were headed out the door that I remembered to say “Have fun!” I had gotten so wrapped up in my fears around them being unchaperoned that I had forgotten the entire point of the trip. I hoped they’d heard me as they jumped into the waiting van to head off for their adventure.

So…all of this starts and I proceed to spend the rest of what should have been a relaxing Sunday wrapped up in the anxiety attack from hell. I made sure to only text them every other hour or so though and only called twice to see how they were doing so I think overall I handled that part pretty well. I figured a helicopter mom would be kind of a buzzkill and that’s the last thing I wanted so I stayed back a bit, which was really hard! I wanted every detail, I wanted photos, I wanted to know what they were doing. In short, my bipolar brain wanted control and constant reassurance and hated that I didn’t (and shouldn’t) have it.

Anyway, I tried everything to shake the anxiety but nothing worked. My wife did everything possible to distract me but it was always there in the back of my mind, just waiting to jump to the forefront the minute there was a gap. I watched tv, slept, worked, read my book, wrote on my blog, and even surfed the internet for a while but until they were safely home I was a bit of a wreck. Of course they made it home just fine and had enjoyed themselves immensely. I’m pretty sure it’s on the agenda again for next year!

As usual there was a lesson in it for me:

My kids can do just fine when I give them trust, time, and space to work together and I can get through them doing that if I just trust the flow of their development and stop trying to manage it. I think that’s one big fat hint to just get my anxiety-ridden-control-freak of a bipolar brain out of their way and let them sort stuff out on their own without trying to referee quite so often.

Do you ever get little parenting lessons? What are they? Share them below in the comments! I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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