Parenting: Go west, young girl, and don't worry about Mom

News-DemocratMay 13, 2013 

It sure is great being a kid. Kids often don't realize how great they have it.

You get the whole summer off, no worries, no real responsibilities (except for chores and whatnot). Three months of bliss and freedom.

This summer, I wish I were a kid again with three months to do whatever I want to do and not have to worry about a thing. I wish that every summer, but this summer, even more so.

Boogie is all lined up to head out west this summer. She'll be gone for nearly two months. She's leaving two days after the last day of school and won't be home until the end of July.

She'll be out galavanting in the Sierras or splashing the Pacific Ocean, camping high in the mountains and riding horses in valleys and up steep mountain trails. She'll probably go whitewater rafting down the American River, visit some old gold mines and maybe try her hand at fly-fishing along with all the other fun stuff that will fill her lazy days of summer.

She's going to visit her nana, grandpa, aunt and cousin. Every time she has visited in the past, she came home wishing she could stay in California forever.

I don't blame her. It's a pretty awesome place to visit and vacation.

But nearly two months without her at home? Whatever will I do?

I might not know what to do with myself while she's gone.

I might accidentally eat dinner in the living room and not at the dining room table, forget to put my socks in the laundry hamper or lounge around in my PJs on a Saturday morning playing video games. I might even find myself jumping on the bed and eating ice cream or brownies for dinner from time to time.

You know, all the stuff I can't do when she's around because I have to set a good example.

I'm sure I'll miss her like crazy. I did last time. But she has so much fun and doesn't get to see her family very often, so I try not to let her know that I do miss her. I don't want to make her feel bad about leaving.

She did make me promise not to get into a car wreck while she's gone. I think kids worry about their parents just as much as we worry about them.

This year she's able to fly without a flight attendant keeping tabs on her and making sure she finds her plane during a plane change. That means she's going to have to figure out how to change planes in Denver, on her own. It was either Denver or Las Vegas. I've been to both airports and decided Denver was a bit easier to navigate than Las Vegas. And, I don't want my 12-year-old wandering around Las Vegas on her own, even if it is just in the airport.

I'm not agonizing over it, she's a smart kid who is confident in her ability and has no shyness about approaching an official for help if she needs it. She'll have her phone with her so she can always call me, or her nana, if she gets worried or lost.

She's going on an exciting adventure, and I wish I were going with her. But, at the same time, it's just one more step toward independence and self-reliance.

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