Recently, I came home from work to find that my children were not at my parents’ home. They were with my parents at my parents’ new rental property where my father was repairing the bathroom tub tiles. My mother assured me they were just going to be there for “a bit” and that she had brought along coloring books and she was coloring with my kids while my father worked on the tiles. Three hours later, it was bed time and when I called again, I was told they would be on their way home “soon.”
I started to feel panicky and upset. As if walls were caving in on my children and there was nothing I could do about it. They were an hour away but I told my mother that in that case, I would be on my way to pick up my kids because it was late. My mother assured me again that the kids were fine; she had packed dinner, already fed them, and they were playing in the living room together. I was told to go ahead to bed, they would be on their way home in 15 minutes, and that I could pick up the kids tomorrow morning.
As I sat in bed, I continued to think about what happened. Was I truly worried over them? Clearly, they were being taken care of and were having a good time with my mother. Yes, it was past their bedtime and they were playing in a house my parents had not yet cleaned, but no one beside me was complaining. It certainly felt nice to come home to an empty, quiet home and relax a bit. So was I reacting to some of my past childhood experiences? Probably.
I recall being at places with my parents when I was younger for long periods of time and feeling so bored. These would be distant family parties where I knew no one or at my mother’s farm where she rented land from someone. I recall waiting and waiting and feeling powerless to control what would happen to me other than to simply wait until my parents said it was time to go home.
It was never my parents intention to make me feel this way, I believe. I believe they did (and still do) what they had to do to get by and sometimes that meant I had to wait. What I don’t want my children to experience though, is that feeling that you’re stuck and that there’s nothing you can do.
But as I think about it now, there is two of them. As much as they annoy one another (they are three and seven), they have each other to interact with. When I was younger and stuck waiting all those times, it was always just I alone. And being stuck somewhere and alone was probably what made it so miserable.
Thank goodness I have my girls each other 🙂