Monday, April 01, 2013

Concern Trolling: An Adventure In Real Life Parenting

Just about midnight Sunday, our older daughter returned from a 10-day trip to the Caribbean.  About a year and a half ago, Moriah's life-long friend and this friend's family invited Moriah to be a part of her friend's "Sweet Sixteen" present: A Caribbean Cruise.  The only cost for us were the passport (they were stopping in the Bahamas) and the airfare to Ft. Lauderdale.  After a red-eye from O'Hare and a couple days lounging around a hotel pool, Moriah and her friend spent a week aboard this ship:
Not too shabby for a 15 year-old, right?

To say that we sent her along on this trip without a care in the world would be ludicrous.  Dad, in particular, had a bit of a freakout moment her last morning with us.  I think it was the relentless stories about the Steubenville rape case, but I had a sit-down with her about safety and etiquette that, once done, made me feel better.  The best part of that whole encounter was, for the first time in a long time, I told Moriah something and she didn't roll her eyes and sigh, "I know that, Dad."  Because she didn't know that, and was wise enough to hear what the old man had to say.

We were very happy to let Moriah go on this trip.  I, for one, said over and over that this was the opportunity of a lifetime.  What a joy to help her experience something like this.

Alas, there are always those who believe it necessary to point out that giving children opportunities to experience new and exciting things is bad parenting.  And they aren't afraid to let you know.

For all those folks who wondered aloud how on earth is was possible we let our child, our baby, out of our sight and out of our country without being attached to us at all times, all I can say is this.

Mind your own goddamn business.

Listening to the folks who real-life concern trolled me, I thought, "Don't you have your own lives to screw up?"  I was asked several times if I thought about possible scenarios that ended with Moriah's rotting corpse turning up months from now in a shallow grave in some Caribbean paradise.  The truth of the matter is, of course I did.  Because I'm a parent.

Moriah isn't a baby.  While she has yet to learn how to turn off the television when she leaves the room, by and large she is far more sensible and responsible than many 15 year olds; certainly more than I was.  She is a fifteen year old, not a baby, not even a child.  As an adolescent, she is in the mid-way period of life.

One person asked me, "How could you let her do this?"  I responded, "How could I not let her do this?"  I'm so happy for her, and looking at the pictures she took and hearing her talk, I am even more happy because she worked very hard to see and experience pretty much everything she could.  She appreciated the entire time, knowing it was special.

The world is a dangerous place, to be sure.  Which is why you teach your kids how to be safe, to think and use some common sense; and then you open the door and out they go, and you keep your fingers crossed and you pray and in the end you know none of that guarantees they'll walk back through the door.

You can't keep that door closed very long, though.

We let Moriah go because we are her parents and we love her and want her to do things and see things even though it's a big, scary, dangerous world out there.  Anyone who thinks otherwise really should pay attention to their own children.

Virtual Tin Cup

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