Letting Go: They’re Growing Up (Part 1)

Letting ‘Em Go: They’re Growing Up—Part 1

Since I’m still developing the posts I had hoped to get to this week—based on two written by Kristen Lamb at her awesome blog—I’ll allow myself to get sidetracked a bit. Hope you get something out of the next two weeks.

Really loving and relating to fellow blogger and fiction author Stacey Wilkes’ Life Lessons of a Mom posts. One of her most recent touched on her self-imposed role as overprotective mother (a.k.a. chaperone) on her 8th grade daughter’s upcoming trip to Washington, DC.

Stacey and I are both Italian mammas. My mom is off-the-boat, and her family of origin is one of the most loving crowds one could get to know. Unfortunately, anxiety—and hence the need to control their world—runs rampant. (I’m blessed enough to take after my dad’s side. Counseling in my younger days helped too—a lot.)

Not sure how much of this stuff is in-bred, lol. I consider myself a pretty laid-back parent—not to be confused with permissive. I work very hard at giving my kids their space while hovering near enough in the vicinity to be ‘hands-on’ if/when needed (or wanted).

Letting go when it comes to ‘big things’ is another story. Not saying I don’t, but that deep-seated Italian (?) anxiety, upbringing—whatever you want to call it—shows up. Every time Older Son (in particular) wants to do that next thing my mom would have NEVER allowed, I turn into a sobbing fool.

One quick example: In 7th grade, Older Son won a raffled snowboard. Of course I didn’t allow him to attend the ski club’s day trip that year! The thought of a 14-year-old on the slopes with who-knew-what-kind-of-supervision (if any) freaked me out. The next year, the moderator of the club begged me to let him go. She called, left me her cell number, etc. I finally acquiesced. (Hubby might have taken him to a local ski resort in the meantime, so we had a sense of what the kid was like up there in the fine, cold powdery stuff.)

Trip day arrived (a Saturday). Dropped the kid off at the bus in the winter-dark at 6:30 AM and waited a while. Since I was the only parent fool enough to hang out in the parking lot, I decided to go home and save Older Son the embarrassment.

Sat outside my house and sobbed like a fool. Every generation of Italian ladies that came before me channeled themselves through me that morning. Settled for texting Older Son at intervals throughout the day. Thank goodness the boy is kind enough to return his ma’s messages.

We’ll discuss the day said kid got the dreaded DL another time.

So: How do you let go? Are you naturally good at it, or is it a practiced skill? Are you an “Italian” mamma?

Have a great week, folks!


12 thoughts on “Letting Go: They’re Growing Up (Part 1)

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I’m trying to let go, but in little steps. Noodge 1, the boy, went on the 8th grade band trip recently. The band performed and then headed over to an amusement park. I didn’t chaperone that one. First off, I don’t do rides. Second, as much as I hate it, I know he has to spread his wings. So, in my Italian way, I had a chat with my grandfather who’s passed to the other side and my guardian angel. I said, “Pop-Pop, if I can’t watch him, you do it.” That makes me feel better. Or makes me crazy. But who’s counting?


    1. Not crazy, at least not IMHO. I’m always asking God to watch over those I can’t.

      I remember the first time my older guy went to Great Adventure. The only reason I let him go was I knew one of the moms was a good old-fashioned overprotective one, lol.

      You’re welcome and thank you!


  2. I’m not Italian by birth but I’m an Italian Mama. In fact, as a GRANDma I do the pacing and worrying about what older granddaughter (10) is allowed to do now. My excuse to, “Look at the things I did at that age,” is it was a simpler time then, the world has changed, we live on a busy street…

    I have to lie down now. I’ve given myself a splitting headache. I’m glad I’m not the mom now, but how do I stop this worrying as if I were?


    1. Not saying I don’t get nervous and have my worrisome moments. I’m grateful, though, that I’m not a worrier by nature. That helps a lot.

      Your concerns sound well-founded, but I also believe kids have to be able to function–offensively and defensively–in the worlds they’re dealt. My mom would get upset when I had my son drive a local highway or take him to a four-way stop rather than a street light. He’s going there w/o me at some point, so better I prepare him–yes?


        1. Does that happen to all of us? One day, my son walked in and said something or other. I jokingly ‘guilted’ him for ‘not thinking of his mother.’

          Gasp! That was MY mother talking. I told that boy he is to put me on HIGH ALERT anytime I start to sound like “Nonna,” lol.


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