Last week I was out until 9 PM, I went to the nail salon and did a little shopping. This is how my normal conversation with my mom went that evening:
6:00 PM I’m headed to a few stores and may get my nails done.
Ok, be careful. Let me know when you get home.
8:30 PM Are you home yet?
Not yet, I am headed there now.
Ok, text me when you get home.
9:00 PM I’m home
Ok, thanks for letting me know. I love you!
I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m 28 years old, married with a one year old and I live in a different state than my mom.
Some people may say that I have overprotective parents. Growing up, my brother and I heard that from our friends almost every weekend (and we also said it more times than I can count), when we would have to head home for our curfew. I would roll my eyes, stomp around and even pout sometimes that I couldn’t stay out as late as I wanted to.
We had to call or text when we arrived where we were going. It annoyed every fiber in my 17-year-old being. Didn’t they know I was about to graduate? I was about to be out on my own. There were more fights than I would like to admit over curfews and my parents being ‘overprotective’.
Fast forward to now. I have seen so many of the horrible parts of this cruel world. I’ve read about more women being “taken” than I would like to admit. I’ve heard of more children being murdered in their own backyards than I ever thought possible. I appreciate the fact that my parents are what some would call overprotective, even now that I’m an adult. I understand more now that my dad’s biggest fear was someone taking one of his children and disappearing. I have seen how cruel the world can be and I know that my parents were doing their best to keep us as safe as possible from that. I see how some men treat women and I know why they were so careful to fully trust the boys that I dated.
In reality, I know that they aren’t overprotective. They simply love and care for me and they want to know that I’m safe and happy. Now that I’m a mom, I understand things I never would have understood at 17 or even two years ago before I was a parent. I never understood the worry and the fear that most parents live with about things that are out of their control. I worry about my 1-year-old sticking his finger in the electrical outlet, but I know that soon I will worry about things like him driving a car, selecting a college or the crowd that he becomes friends with.
I respect and understand my parents so much more now than I did at 17. I feel the unconditional love of my parents when my mom wonders if I’m home yet or when my dad texts me at 6:30 am to tell me he loves me. It has taken me 28 years to understand why my parents are in some people’s eyes “overprotective.” I don’t see them as overprotective, I understand they are still my parents.
When your child leaves home, goes to college or gets married, that doesn’t mean you aren’t their parent anymore or you stop worrying. It brings an entire new set of worries, and I understand that now. My parents don’t pry into my marriage or tell me how to raise my son. They aren’t overbearing or nosy, they just want to know that I’m safe, healthy and happy. I’m quickly learning that’s all that any parent wants, no matter how old your children are.