Monday, July 21, 2008


My daughter, that is.

I just dropped Hedgehog off at her Indian wilderness camp for the day, and it was so hard to remember that she isn't me--I was feeling tremulous "on her behalf" at leaving her with strangers in a strange place in the woods, but then I gave a little count to ten and reminded myself that she is game for almost anything these days, and didn't seem at all concerned about being left. My biggest challenge as a parent has always been this--how to give her both freedom and security, without letting my own hangups (and believe me, I have many) interfere--how to let her go her little way with a sense that I'm there, but not clinging. I know I'm repeating myself here, but I feel a need to say it over and over again--like an incantation to protect Hedgehog from my overprotective, overcontrolling, overwhelming, pestering, questioning, hypervigilant parenting style.

I don't think it's an accident that everything I've enrolled her in this summer--survival skills and wilderness training, self-defense and martial arts--is designed to strengthen her independence and fierce little spirit--I can't always show her these things myself, and I'm not above asking for help with this, the hardest job I've ever had!

Anyway, signing out now from my bootleg blogging session in a parking lot in Saratoga Springs, NY! Hope everyone's well out there!



Rima said...

I think about this all the time--of what a crazy, overprotective parent I might turn out to me. Trust me, you are not alone.

Suzanne said...

Robyn sent me! I'm checking out my competition, and must admit you look as familiar as Brian. Damn.

Some observations:

- Shouldn't that be Native American Wilderness Camp? Man, I feel sorry for you when this makes the local newspaper. (Frantically searching Lake George for news paper phone numbers.)

- As you know, I don't have children, but being the daughter of a ridiculously over protective mother I feel I have not only insight, but the right to voice my opinion! Hold tight, but not so tight you smother. Kids usually know who they are and just need some guidance, support, understanding and love. They blossom with the the right balance and have all sorts of hang ups without. It's a delicate dance, but you're a thinker, you'll do fine. Good luck with that honey!

- Ahhhhhhhhh, lovely, beautiful, affluent Saratoga Spring. I want you to march out of your car this instant, go the the raceway and hold up a sign that reads "SUZE DEPLORES THE USE OF ANIMALS TO MAKE MONEY!!!" Then go hug all those beautiful horses for me. Oh, and here's a bag a carrots. Thanks baby.

- Sitting in a car in a parking lot. That's gotta hurt again. Well, you know best...pleasure and pain.

Okay, I'm going to "git." Thanks for your comment on my blog. It helped enormously. I'm almost back to normal.

Love ya baby,
Me ;)

Becky said...

It's so hard to let go, but it must be done so that they can learn.....after my son's severe football injury a couple of years ago all I wanted to do was wrap him up in bubble wrap!

Cecile said...

Sometime overprotective parenting isn't such a bad quality to have. Is it?

Robyn said...

Leah! Is being overprotective a bad thing?! I don't have children but I am a Aunt...and I am WAY over the top overprotective! You bet...the world we live in! Hell YEAH! And good for you that you stayed in the parking lot...Hedgehog is lucky I wasn't there I would have been taking the camp with her. *not caring that I was the biggest kid in the camp*

Leah said...

Thanks, Rima, I appreciate it very much!

Suzanne! I asked Hedgehog and she told me that the Native Americans who run the camp refer to themselves as "Indians," so no political correctness for them apparently!

And gosh yes, I'm TOTALLY against horse-racing. I think anything like that is absolutely diabolical.

Hi Becky! Bubble wrap! Yes! Think my daughter will notice?!

Cecile and Robyn, I agree that protectiveness is an absolute must in this world. I think my problem is that I have tend to psychologically overprotect, if you know what I mean, which is much more dangerous water...


kylie said...

hi leah,
i have read this post several times and quite pathetically havent had the energy to comment....i still dont and now theres all these comment worthy comments.....AAARGH!!
i'll be back


ah.... summer camp.... i wish someone could drop me off at summer camp!

MJ said...

You’ll be fine after you listen to Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.

Skeeter said...

Mrs. skeeter and I took our son to Camp when he was younger also. He went a bunch of different ones and had a good time at almost all of them. Hope Hedgehog has a blast at Camp!

Best wishes,

bindhiya said...

Dear Leah,
Hope you had a good day..
here is another overprotective mom :)
♥ & ((hugs))

Robyn said...

Hey here! *tapping the glass* where are you girly?! Come check out my crazy post! I think you will laugh your butt off!

Skeeter said...

Hi Leah!

Hope you are enjoying your summer. Talk with you later.

Best wishes to you & Hedgehog!

Suzanne said...

Skeeter spelled his own name wrong. That's just too funny. What are we going to do with that?

Well apparently the Adirondacks have embraced the hell out of you and you don't have time for old friends. Damn. Nature is so seductive.

Just checking in to see if you're still alive. I know you are, but just want to bust your balls. Oh, right, you're a girl. Honey, how's that pedicure holdin' up?


P.S. Robyn has a hoot of a post. You might want to find a car and bootleg.

Skeeter said...

Hi Leah! You know it's one of those days when a person can't even spell their own name correctly. Good grief ... yes, there are three e's in Skeeter, unless I'm feeling French. In that case, Skeetois ... only has two.

Best wishes,

Suzanne said...

I see Sketer stopped by!!!

Cecile said...

Just letting you know that I"m missing my Leah fix. HOpe you get back down state soon. Until then, waiting patiently with my hot wax in hand. Oh wait, thats more appropriate for your other blog. My bad.

kylie said...

well, it's a good thing i came back to talk about parenting. this mob just turn into a rabble without a steadying prescence :)

i generally tend to trust my kids more than people think is appropriate so i guess i dont fit the overprotective mould, benign neglect is more my style !

i never used to hold the kids' hand when we were out walking, unless we were on a very busy road. i always thought it was fine to let them explore a little way behind or in front of me. when someone said "but what if a car is turning into a driveway" it shocked me somewhat. i always assumed that in that situation i would call the kids into a better position and a driver would slow down for pedestrians crossing their drive.

i'll never forget the first time i sent anyone away to a camp. it was a church holiday camp for five days (i think). the two boys were going. they were looking rather overwhelmed and i was in unfamiliar territory. i knew from experience that if they got upset i would bawl right along with them and we'd all just get worked up so i bade a very hasty goodbye and took off before the bus was ready to go.
i have only recently learned that they both burst into tears after i left.
i sometimes think i made a bad call on that but i'm still convinced that it would have been worse if i stayed

i hope hedgie is enjoying her summer and her mama is enjoying watching her grow!

Leah said...

Kylie--yes, benign neglect is, I'm beginning to believe, the secret to happy parenting. I do practice it whenever I can, and I think it allows your children to come into their own when they're not always being watched. I loved your First Camp story!


Leah said...

Hi Cece! I'm baa-aack! Now I just have to think of something to write about...

hope you're doing okay, lady--