Sunday, July 18, 2010

Letting Go

Three months ago, my son came to me and asked to go to the Vans Warped Tour. For the uninitiated, Warped is a big, open air festival with 10 stages and scores of different alternative music acts that nobody over 30 has heard of. My immediate response was a resolute "NO!". My husband and I usually take him to see whatever shows he wants to see, but this was outdoors, in July and included mosh pits where scores of sweaty Scene Kids bang their heads, flail arms and legs and drip technicolor hair dye on each other. Not so good for the over 40 set.

Needless to say, he was unhappy with my answer and countered with how so and so's mother was going to chaperon a group of 7 kids. My response to this was "I don't know so and so's mother and how does she plan to rescue her kid when they get sucked into the swirling vortex of a mosh pit?". Once again, unhappy teen.

The harassing went on for a short period of time and eventually got lost in the chaos of finals and friends going off to camp and other end of school year whatnot. Then, like George Michael, it rose up again, out of nowhere and crashed through my living room. This time he asked to go with different friends and a smaller group. This time an older brother, in his early 20's was chaperoning. This time, I knew the parents of this friend and knew that they were very protective of their daughter. They would be well looked after. This time, despite my concerns, I said "Yes".

It wasn't easy for me to get to yes. There was a labyrinth of decisions and concerns that I had to wade through to get to yes.

Was he responsible enough?
Would he avoid the mosh pit of doom?

Would he be able to navigate around any drunk or druggy attendees?

Would it be too hot?

Would he remember to hydrate?

Would his hair frizz? (What? It's July, people.)

Well, guess what? He made it back alive. He rolled in around 11:00 PM, so excited to have gone. He got his sneakers signed by his favorite band (Pierce the Veil? I know. Me either.), saw five different bands perform and managed to get a great picture of Never Shout Never for his sister (I know. Me either.). And while they had a minor incident where his friend got bonked in the head by an out of control crowd surfer, they took her to the medical tent and seemed to handle situation responsibly and she ended up being ok.

My son has often accused me of being a little overprotective. But despite these tendencies, I let him go. It's not like I didn't text every half hour or so reminding him to hydrate. And it's not like I didn't pace or chew my nails a little whenever I stopped and thought about him being there. But I did manage to be at ease with it enough that I didn't have to take a xanax or breathe into a paper bag to stop hyperventilating. Attending this concert was only one small step in my son's blossoming independence, but it was one giant leap for "Helicopter Mom".

22 Your comments, banter and witty repartee:

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Oh the Warped War! Been there. You did good. Just let my (16) go to her 1st, just with friends, multi band, mosh pitted, not home till 1 A.M. concert Fri. She had a blast and came home to tell stories of people who behaved badly-not be reported as one of them ; )I was so proud!

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded - Thanks. We'll see what his expectations are next year, when he's 15.

hokgardner said...

I'm dreading the day when I have to start letting go like that.

singedwingangel said...

OH Lord my son's have gone on camping trips to festivals with about 200000 people thre for a week. I gave up being a helicopter mom long ago.. It was driving me insane lol

Bossy Betty said...

LOVED your response about the other mom!!! I am accused of being freakishly overprotective as well. I am trying to lighten up though. Really, is there anything better than that boy walking through the door safe and sound? I think not.

3LittleMonkeys said...

Ugh...I am sooooo dreading the teenage years! Right now it's "No, you can't ride your bike on the street!"

Aging Mommy said...

I read this post and all the while was thinking how on earth am I ever going to be able to let my baby girl go out, at night, with other young people, without me, or her Daddy. I know she is only three right now but oh boy, I also know it is going to be so very hard letting go.

I loved this post, all credit to you for letting your son go with responsible friends and have such a wonderful time.

Midwestern Mama Holly said...

The letting go is the hardest part... still.

Carol said...

My daughter is 17. This year will be her fourth warped tour and I think she would rather sell me on ebay than miss it. The first year I was insanely afraid. Texted her every half hour and if she didn't text back immediately I was in the car on my way there. I picked her and her friend up, somehow they had gotten spray painted with things like love and peace and gotten their pants signed by weird bands but all in all, they managed to stay away from the crazies and now it's a yearly thing. I still freak, but she refuses to text every half an hour, she has weaned me to once an hour. What will I do when she doesn't feel the need to text me at all?

Eternally Distracted said...

Sometimes I am so glad that I am only the Mum of a cockatoo!!

The Empress said...

Ha! I loved it, b/c that is me. "A giant leap for helicopter mom."

That's my M.O., too, woman...

glad it all went well.

Tropical Mum said...

I hope to be like you when it is my turn, protective, but willing to let go a little when the circumsances are right. Well done you!

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

HOKGardener - You'll do fine. There are so many constant, little worries when they are small. Basically, you have to wrap them in bubble wrap and trail behind them 24X7. When they get bigger, the worries are fewer but larger in individual scale. It all evens out.

Angel - It makes me crazy too. Hopefully I will loosen with each event.

Bossy Betty - I am trying too. Baby steps.

3 Little Monkeys - the one I am dreading is "no you can't borrow the car".

Aging Mommy - Thanks. I thought the same thing about changing diapers and late night feedings. But I did it. Somehow, you just slowly get prepared for it.

Midwestern Mama - yeah, I have heard it never stops. You even worry when they are in their forties.

Carol - It definitely seems like a good time. And I guess if you are pretty sure that they are level headed, they are responsible enough to manage it. Thank god for cell phones!

E.D. - Pets give us worry too. I am always afraid that the dog will get out of the yard or the cat will expend his 9 lives. I guess you just worry about the things you love.

Empress - There's no shame in hovering, a little.

Tropical Mum - Thank you. It starts ramping up around the time that they want to ride their bike around the block and it goes from there.

Linda Medrano said...

I think my son was about 11 and I let him go up in a plane with my neighbor (a pilot). He had a blast, I had heart failure (almost) until they landed. So difficult to let them do things when we know there are risks. But we do have to do it! Good for you!

MiMi said...

Okay, you let him go! Overprotective? Maybe.
But, you are officially the coolest mom evah. For at least a month! :)

The Drama Mama said...

I've got something for you.

linlah said...

That first time is always hard and then they prove you wrong and you let them go, over and over and over again.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Linda - That had to be a pretty tough thing to do!

MiMi - I wish I had gotten cool points for that. But, probs not.

Drama Mama - Thank you. I'm coming to claim my prize!

Linlah - Life seems to be all about proving me wrong.

foxy said...

Well, good for you! I was the older sister that chaperoned my brother and a group of his friends to Lollapalooza when they were all too young to go by themselves - and we all came back alive. :)

And, yeah... who in the world are those bands?? Usually I feel pretty young for my age, but that? Made me feel OLD.

Amy said...

OH, man! I need a valium just to process this post. In my eyes, my son will always be 2. So it's hard to fathom concert requests. OY!...Please stay 2 Jackson!

Cheryl said...

Wow! I don't think I could have done that and I'm childless!

The Crazy Baby Mama said...

you MUST read "the empty nest" by karen stabiner... while you're SO not there yet, i think you'll find it witty and poignant. and maybe even something to look forward to :)

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