Vesta met with her seamstress, giggling through her fitting for a new handmade bathing suit. She told her friend about Jean, about his letter, and about her plan.
A week later, Vesta was wearing the suit in a little photo studio over the bakery on main street. It was sunny and warm and her funny photographer friend put on some burlesque music. The two giggled and reminisced the afternoon away, playing dressup; playing model. Vesta had never actually done such a thing before, and here she was, a middle-aged pinup model!
Vesta changed into an evening gown and long sexy gloves.
She had moments of doubt, but as her photographer friend pointed out, nothing was at stake. Certainly her long friendship with Jean, sometimes physical, could withstand a bump if she’d misunderstood. As the afternoon wore on, and they broke open the wine, she cared less and less. She was having fun.
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.
I like those orange feathers coming out of the tops of those arm coverlets.
Aren’t they sexy and classy? I love them! I wish I went places that needed such an outfit! 🙂 Thanks for reading.