I have a problem. A big problem. And I'll tell you what my problem is: I can hardly tell the difference between what is my problem, and what is not.
The problem shows up in all my relationships, but nowhere more so than with my children. Yesterday I spent all day, ALL day, doing the laundry, errands, phone calls, e-mails etc... necessary to get my perfectly capable 16-year-old ready for high school (which starts today for her). I had three e-mail exchanges with her math teacher to determine if the calculator she already has, will, in fact, suffice for this year. I cleared up a problem with Powell's Bookstore, found the books I'd ordered on-line two weeks ago and requested be shipped to a nearby location, and drove to that "nearby" location to get her entire year's worth of American Literature reading material. She suddenly remembered that she missed the day when you get your locker assignment (we were out of town) and so we reshuffled the entire day to make that work yesterday.
Went on a walk with Nancy last night and I asked, "How do other parents do it? Especially those that work? Especially those with a bunch of children? How do they get it all done?"
Of course that is the answer, they don't get it all done. The world would probably still spin if Woohoo went to high school with the wrong calculator on the first day. She could probably squeak through Am. Lit. with only the book she needs for the first 5 weeks, and then manage to get the other ones eventually. She could probably order a book on-line all by herself. She could probably manage the complexities of a washer and dryer and do her own damn laundry.
Part of my defense is that I have Rojo who cannot fend for himself, whose every need is my problem. Part of it is habit. Sixteen years is a long time to do things one way, and it's hard to adjust my parenting according to her ever-developing independence, even though I know that's what's best for both of us. Part of is is sheer practicality. I know that Rojo needs to eat his Trader Joe's spinach pizza AT 5:00 PM each and every day. I know that it takes our oven 20 minutes to heat up to 425 degrees. I know that if I'm not in my kitchen by 4:15 every afternoon, his pizza will not be cooked, cut, and cooled BY 5:00. And then, my friends, we have a problem. I know that it will not work to pick Woohoo up from school at 3:30 this week, and then learn that she needs such-and-such by tomorrow. There is no wiggle room. There is not we'll-just-run-by-and-get-that-now time.
In two years my daughter will be off to college. TWO years! 24 months! I am committed to turning the reins over to her in a deliberate and careful manner between now and then.
Starting tomorrow. Right now I have to go make her bed.