When Your Daughter's in Greece...

And Then There's an Earthquake



Put this under the category of “You Cannot Protect Your Children from Everything.” I was brushing my teeth this morning, getting ready to leave for work, when my sister texted me asking if Mary (my daughter, who is in Greece right now) was okay after the big earthquake in Turkey and Greece. What?! Once my heart restarted, and I was able to breathe, I vibered (is that a word? Viber is a free app similar to Skype). Not hearing back immediately, I called her. Twice. Voicemail. Voicemail. My mind immediately went to imagining her under a pile of Acropolis rubble, injured and unable to get help. Then I got what I had been praying for – a Viber alert. But it was my other daughter saying the damage looked really bad. After what seemed like an hour, Mary sent a message that she was fine. She would call me later.

Isn’t that the way it is with kids? We are somehow under the illusion (delusion?) that we can protect our children from hurt, pain, illness, injury, heartache and whatever else life might throw their way. Of course, the reality is that we can’t really protect them. And, sometimes well-intended protection only ends up making them less able to handle life’s challenges on their own.

A natural disaster is something I can’t control. My heart goes out to those who were injured and killed in this earthquake. And, feeling the horror their loved ones must feel is just unthinkable. 

Stating the obvious, there are many things in life we can’t control, which this earthquake so graphically reminded me. We can as parents, however, prepare our kids for gracefully and courageously facing the inevitable adversities and challenges they will face. Of course, we want to support and listen and nurture our children in their times of hurt, but we can’t go through the hurt for them.

Believe me, I’ve made all the parenting mistakes, including:

  • Feeling responsible for my children’s happiness
  • Being competitive with other parents
  • Trying to over-explain things
  • Being a bad role model sometimes
  • Expecting my children to be different from who they are
  • Allowing myself to be influenced by other parents when I know best for myself and my family
  • Doing too much for them

There are so many ways to mess up. But, to me, it all comes down to fear. Fear that my children will be hurt, physically or emotionally; fear that they won’t “get ahead” in life (whatever that means); fear that they won’t understand what I’m trying to teach them; fear that they won’t be happy (whatever that means); fear, fear, fear…. most of it unreasonable.

Letting go of those fears, knowing you’re doing your best, and allowing children to discover the world by making their own mistakes and having their own successes, to me, is one way to be a confident parent.

I can’t predict or prevent earthquakes in Greece any more than I can predict or control my children’s lives. The frightening 30 minutes or so of uncertainty reminded me that I should appreciate the here and now – or, as the current cliché goes, “be in the moment.” I can do that, but I’ll sometimes continue to make a final parenting mistake: If they go somewhere such as Greece, I’ll live vicariously through my children.

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Editor's Blog

Living the empty nest life, and loving it.

About This Blog

Betty Casey has been editor of TulsaKids for over 20 years – her youngest child was 3-years-old when she started working for the magazine. She and her husband Wes have three young adult children. Betty’s blog ranges from writing about current issues or information of interest to local parents, reflecting on her life without kids at home, and posting a few recipes now and then. (Cooking and running are two or her favorite past-times.) Betty is the author/illustrator of two children’s books, May Finds Her Way and That Is a Hat (The RoadRunner Press) and she is currently working on a third. She was named Blogger of the Year in 2014 by The Great Plains Journalism Awards, was a finalist in 2015 and won again in 2016. She has won numerous writing awards from the Parenting Media Association.

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Editor's Blog Feed »