Finding balance in an unbalanced world

Do you ever think back on things you were allowed to do during your childhood and wonder what your parents were thinking? Because I do. Especially now that we’re considering kids of our own.

I know times have changed, and I have to keep that in mind. I also have to keep in mind that I think many parents today are overprotective, helicopter parents and that’s not good either. With my own kids I will want some sort of balance, and looking back, perhaps that’s exactly what my mom provided. But as an adult now, I can’t imagine letting my kids do some of the things that my parents allowed us to do.

The summer of 1994, we lived in Sydney, Australia.

Speaking of Australia, you can see from this picture (taken in the Blue Mountains) that my lack of fashion sense goes back a long way. I’m the one in the poofy pink, head to toe. Nice, huh?

Anyway, so 1994 means that my brother was about to be 15, I was about to be 12, and my sister was about to be 9. We all have fall birthdays. We lived in a gorgeous apartment on the 19th floor of the building, overlooking Sydney Harbour. We didn’t have a car, so we relied on public transportation and our own legs, which was awesome by the way. Just up the street was a ferry station to take you across the harbour and around the corner was the train station. I can remember many occasions when my dad would be at work and my mom would let us take the ferry over to Darling Harbour to hang out for a while. She’d give us a little bit of money and tell us when to be home. And that was that. I also remember once when we went to a mall by ourselves. This mall wasn’t in walking distance, we actually had to walk to the train station, buy a ticket, board the train, get off at the proper location, and walk the rest of the way to the mall in a foreign city. What the hell?! The only reason that I remember distinctly that mom wasn’t with us is because we saw that some movie was playing at the movie theater that we wanted to see. We didn’t have enough money and wanted mom to come see it with us, so we called the apartment and convinced her to come to the movies.

Cuh-razy! Or is it? I don’t know. I just can’t imagine letting my little kids do that. I guess my brother couldn’t really be considered “little” at that age, but he also couldn’t be considered “responsible” either.

Then there was the time I was a senior in high school and I convinced my mom to let me go to Las Vegas for spring break with one of my best friends, her boyfriend, and his best friend. At the time it didn’t feel like anything crazy. After all, I reasoned that I was 18 and legally an adult. But now I can’t help but to think that it was crazy. I remember my aunt telling me at the time that I was lucky I wasn’t her kid because she’d never let me go. And at the time I remember thinking, well then you’re right; I’m glad you aren’t my mom! But now there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I would also take my aunt’s stance in that situation.

On the one hand, I really don’t think the world is any more dangerous today than it’s ever been. We just hear more horror stories because of 24 hour news and immediate information. But that doesn’t mean that the horror stories are new to this time period. Kidnappings, abductions, molestation…none of that is new. We’re just more aware now. So because of that, I feel like I don’t want to be an overbearing and overprotective parent that doesn’t let their kids live a little. But then I remember that I’m a huge worrywart, and already I feel sorry for my future kids.

So if you read this someday, future kid, I apologize in advance if I drive you crazy with my incessant worry! It’s only because I love you.