Vesta held her ring. She pondered the holidays just passed and wondered how. How did solstice transform into solemn religious observance and then into frenzied consumerism? She knew how, of course, but it still seemed impossible sometimes. The ring felt solid. Handmade, it absolved her of gluttony, greed, and all those other sins. She smiled. Her spinster sisters weren’t gluttonous and for that she was grateful. They were lovely, ranging from painfully shy to rather robust, and this new one, Scarlett, was a fun quirky addition. Vesta had heard her friend talking Scarlett into throwing off the shackles of the city and joining them in the country. Vesta’s ring reminded her of making the transition herself, and how self-directed and clear she’d been about leaving the university and the city. She thought about the one who’d given her the ring, and smiled again while putting the kettle on. She must call.
I am queen of the helicopter parents. But there are enough of us that we are becoming a social problem. Here’s my story.
Thing 1 was coming, they couldn’t stop him, it was only 24 weeks and 3 days. Someone asked: should we try to save him? Well, yes. Yes! Ten days later, a team of doctors closed the door behind us to explain brain bleeds, sepsis, meningitis. Shall we pull the plug? Well, no. No!
Babydaddy laid hands on him every day, massaged him when he was ready. For the three months he was in intensive care, and the three weeks at an intermediate hospital, I would get up in the night and pump breast milk, thinking about my baby across town. Babydaddy delivered it every morning, earning the name “milkman.” It was funny.
We had every therapy going for as long as possible: early intervention, the intermediate unit, private therapies. Terms multiplied: sensory processing dysfunction, sensory integration problems, orally defensive, auditory sensitivities, comprehensive developmental delay, cognitive function impairment, retinopathy of prematurity. He did occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, play therapy; we consulted with a neurologist, school psychologist, wraparound service provider, developmental specialist. He worked with an occupational therapist for a year and a half to tolerate teeth and hair brushing.
Not surprisingly, parenting didn’t feel natural. I learned to read to my baby watching Phyllis, our physical therapist. Voices, commentary, labeling colors, counting… she was very good! Merging professional research skills with my genetic propensity for silliness (mom was class clown, dad’s distantly related to Lucille Ball), my mothering style came together. Eventually. But I still channel Phyllis on occasion.
Thing 2 was full term. They are complete opposites; she is a sensory seeker with a wild sense of adventure and an inventive sense of fashion. Keeping them both busy and happy is an exasperating and sweet challenge. I still believe that every day can be fun and educational while reinforcing kids' boundaries. I’m on a mission to save us helicopter parents from ourselves. No more bubble wrapped kids and guilty parents. Let’s teach them coping skills. Let’s get fun.
Wow! Thank you so much for writing this beautiful piece! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you chose one of my designs to influence your writing. You have no idea how spooky it is that you mention Scarlett as that is the name my daughter chose to be known as online! And oh how I’d love to throw off the shackles of city and head for the countryside.
Amanda (Gimme That Thing) x
Thanks so much for your kind.words! And your spooky coinxence.
I have a red velvet styrofoam head ….hat model…named Scarlett! Hahaha.
A very cool way to highlight a product
Thanks so much Mary!