Friday, December 19, 2014

It's finally here, and I'm not

The day has finally come. The wrestling countdown has ended. We hadn't intended for A to start wrestling tournaments until after Christmas, but his team is traveling to a meet in Fort Dodge today, and he really wanted to go. Unfortunately, it falls on the same day as I am leaving for Dallas (Go COLTS!) on a trip that has been planned for months.

Missing out on your child's performance or competition has got to be one of the hardest decisions to make as a parent. It's one thing when it's work (still a tough choice), or when you have kids' activities pulling you in two different directions, but this isn't either of those. It's a "fun" trip that's causing me to miss my baby boy's first meet. Insert mental guilt trip!

A and I have had a couple of good chats about this. In the first one, he hugged me and said it would be fine. He's 6. Glad one of us could be the adult! In the second one I actually asked if he was *sure* he wanted to do this one. He said he was. So I have had to come to grips with the fact that I won't be there for my kid. He seems much more okay with it than I am.

I will probably beat myself up about this for a while, but there is a saving grace. Face time! Thank God for technology that allows me to connect with my kids and see their activities even when I can't be there! And for the record, we won't actually be face-timing as my husband doesn't have an iPhone. So for those of you in an Android situation, we are going to be using a Google Hangout.

I'm lucky that this is the first time this has happened, and hoping it will be one of the only. But as my kids get older and involved in more activities, we all know that won't be the case. Does it get easier? Would love a little Parenting 101 advice from some of you with older kiddos.

But I want to give myself a little gift, in the spirit of the holidays. I hereby give myself permission to go on my trip and have fun. I do not need to feel guilty. I do not need to feel like a bad mom. If you're in a similar situation, I'm happy to share this gift with you. You are an amazing parent. You do not need to feel guilty for missing an event once in a while. In fact, you are modeling balance in life for your child. You are modeling real life - it's messy, it's wonderful, it's unpredictable. Give your child a hug, wish him or her good luck, and call for an update when it's over. Sometimes absence is unavoidable. For me, this is one of those times. I'll be at the next tournament, cheering twice as loud to make up for missing this one.

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