Author: Luisa Perkins
•8:43 PM
I tell you: I am a freak.

If I were slightly less self-aware, I'd be one of those neurotic, smothering mothers you see in the movies: the ones who can't stop fussing over their kids, much to the eye-rolling of everyone else. I have all the crazy impulses those hennish women have; I just clamp down tightly and don't let them out.

Christian is going on a three-day ski trip with the high school Ski Club tomorrow. The club goes by well-chaperoned bus to Vermont, stays at a well-policed dorm, skis like crazy for three straight days, then comes home late Friday night. Christian is so excited, he can barely stand it.

Me? Butterflies are tying themselves in knots in my squished stomach (remember: I'm in my sixth month of pregnancy, and the hormones ain't helping any right about now). Christian has gone away before, but only to Scout Camp, with tons of other church kids and chaperoned by dads I know well.

I trust Christian. He is an amazing kid. His good friend Peter is going on the trip, and Peter is as solid as they come. But part of me wants to order background checks on everyone else, kid and adult alike. I remember being fourteen; I wish I could forget.

I also wish I could forget things like that footage they used to show on The Wide World of Sports when the narrator would intone, "...the agony of defeat." Or the fact that nylon ski pants tend to melt and catch fire when hung too closely to a heat source. Or those vivid descriptions of frostbite from that book I read last year about Shackleton's ill-fated trip to Antarctica. Or the ridiculous and dangerous antics of some of the adult advisors at my high school (granted, that was in Truckee, last bastion of hippiedom). Or, hey, wasn't The Overlook in The Shining a hotel for skiers? Or...or...or...

At 5:30 tomorrow morning, I'll hug my boy, smile, and send him out the door. Then I'll take some deep breaths and try to muster up some shred of faith that he'll return to me safe and sound.

Can you tell how much I'm looking forward to sending him off to college in three years?

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On 19/2/08 , Karlene said...

I totally understand. :)

On 20/2/08 , Julie Wright said...

I keep threatening to write down all the terrible things my kids do just so I can have something to remind me why I'm glad they're gone when college time and missions come. But all the little terrible things they do usually make me laugh and I am terrible enough to find them endearing. I'm afraid the monster journals will just add to the waterworks. As Karlene said . . . I Totally understand.

On 20/2/08 , Kimberly said...

Oh how I do not envy you! No advice, just a quick hug and the suggestion that you remember to breathe. That's

On 20/2/08 , Anonymous said...

My mom is the same way. I'm the older of two children and I was totally sheltered and over protected. I realize it every time I go to do something basic like, mow the lawn, and I realize I don't know how to do it because I was never allowed to.

So good for you for holding those impulses in check. Your son will be much more capable as an adult because you allowed him some freedom as a young man.

On 20/2/08 , meleah rebeccah said...

I totally understand. I am still one of those over protective mothers...I try to hold it in too. But sometimes it leaks out.

On 20/2/08 , Jenna Consolo said...

I'm right there with you, Luisa. Suffering like crazy in silence. I keep counting down: Well, only four more Christmases with Lyndsay before college.(What WILL I do when I can't see her face every day?) Well, only seven more birthdays with Dylan before his mission. It's AGONY, isn't it? I try to keep those impulses in check too, but sometimes the tears leak out onto my pillow at night. Please keep Christian safe for Lyndsay. Please.

On 20/2/08 , Annette Lyon said...

Ah, the joy and misery of motherhood. I know exactly what that knotted stomach feels like. I about had a fit when the youth went on an overnight tubing trip. The Klondike last month almost gave me a nervous breadown (my little guy's gonna FREEZE!), and summer 09 my daughter will be going to girls' camp. NOT excited about that one.

Tomorrow, KNIT. It'll keep you sane.

On 20/2/08 , NH Knitting Mama said...

I bet I'll feel the same way you do. I don't even like to go to work because I'm away from him!

On 20/2/08 , Josi said...

You're such a good mom, I'm on the other end "Three days, one less kid in a safe place, sweeeet!" But that's easy to say when I haven't had to send them off. What a lucky kid to have such a loving mama.

On 20/2/08 , dawn said...

I can get that way too. Can't you tell, I home school;-). I was much worse for terrible thoughts when pregnant and had small babies. I still worry terribly and wonder how to handle situations with them in the big bad world. I know they are capable and can handle many things and I just struggle through and try not to LOOK neurotic;-).

On 21/2/08 , Wholly Burble said...

My mother was a working mom and, although I'm sure she thought of her children--she had the philosophy that if we showed up at the end of the day, no great blood loss, no obvious gaping wounds, no harm, no foul--no questions asked!

Guess I have a bit of that in me-my boys would head out to the back ten acres (and anybody else's acres they happened to cross into), and by days' end, if they showed up pretty much in one piece, I asked if they had a good day, and accepted their assessment and dropped the subject LOL.

OK, when they were born, I inspected them from head to toe regularly--didn't let them out of my sight--ran background checks on anyone who wanted to pick them up--But after five years of age, I did an about-face, and let 'em go.

Now they still head out the door as adults, come around and give me the "all OK" sign occasionally, and seem very happy young fellows.

Hope your son has a GREAT time--and YOU have some peace of mind. Jesus just loves to let you roll the care over on Him.

On 21/2/08 , Alice said...

I just read all the other comments, but unlike many of them, I can't say "I understand" because I don't. It did sort of remind me of my mom, though -- freaking out and losing control in the silence of her own mind.

I have to say, though, when I read the first line of your post I couldn't help but think, "Am I reading the right blog?". I looked up at the URL and lo and behold, Luisa just called herself a freak. A what?
Taking into consideration the overall definition of you and the overall definition of me, one would sooner categorize me as a freak -- a nerdy, uncoordinated teenage girl with no differentiation between what she says and what she thinks -- than they would you -- an accomplished woman who is succesfully raising five children, who writes great novels, cooks brilliantly, and does needlework in her free time.

Plus, there is quite a difference between TV and reality. Producers try to make the mothers seem possesed by an "out of control" worry, then they make that a bad thing. I don't think there is anything wrong with worrying. About anything, really. It's human nature, and in your case, mother's intuition. Sort of.

As long as you trust him, he should be fine. :D

On 21/2/08 , Elizabeth said...

Of course you worry.
I would say pray, for him and yourself, but I am sure you are already doing that.

Christian is great.
You are great.

On 21/2/08 , Brillig said...

Do you think Christian would mind taking all four of my kids with him? Sounds like just exactly the kind of thing I'd love to ship them off on. I don't really mean that... do I?

Proud of you for being so very self-aware. That's going to be the hardest part for me-- the remembering MYSELF as a 14 year old and therefore not wanting to let my kids go.

I have 8 years to build up to that (though Madeleine is quite certain that she's already a teenager).

On 24/2/08 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

One word: hormones.

Just joking, but I'm sure that's playing into it a bit, right? And Christian will have a blast and I'm guessing the trip will be fine, but yes, I have that feeling every year when C goes away to camp for a couple of weeks.

On 27/2/08 , Goofball said...

he's almost back!