I had the awesome opportunity to hang out with my brother this weekend. We haven’t seen each other very often since I’ve come to college, and if we are ever in the same state, he’s busy with school or work or I’m finishing a paper or hanging out with some friends. So it was nice to make dinner with him and sit around on a Sunday night playing Uno, just hanging out.
We were house-sitting together and so after the movie and the games and cleaning, me, being the responsible adult, did what adults do before they go to sleep. Adults check the doors to make sure they’re all locked. They turn off all the lights downstairs before going upstairs. They call everyone in for family prayer. They go through the next day’s schedule to make sure they know what everyone is going to need from them. And guess what I ended up doing. All of the above. It’s strange to be thrown back into a family situation as the leading responsible adult. Where those things, that my parents generally are responsible for, are what I am now responsible for. It was slightly surreal.
And after my brother crashed, I lay in bed with my eyes wide open thinking about responsibility. Thinking about how scary it must be for parents to go to sleep at night, and not be continually aware of where their children and what they’re doing. They may be sleeping in their rooms one moment, but circumstances may change and you have no idea, because you’re sleeping. I know this sounds paranoid and ridiculous. But I was thinking about this at 2 o’clock in the morning so it doesn’t have to the be most coherent logic train. At the same time, I think it’s a valid fear. Irrational maybe, but valid. If I was feeling slightly anxious being responsible for my brother, who to be completely honest would stand more of a chance against a burglar than I would, then how am I going to feel when I’m a mom. I’m going to be a nervous wreck. I really don’t know how parents aren’t more overprotective. I’m grateful they aren’t. Freedom is something kids want and need, but as I think about motherhood, abstractly at this point since I’m legions away from actually being one, I’m realizing how difficult it must be for parents to not throw us in a cage.
I guess the answer to that is what Jessie said last night. It’s because they love you so much that they are both terrified for you and allow you to plot your own path. They want you to live a full vivacious life. They’re curious to see the person you will become. And so the let you make your own decisions, even if they know your choices are stupid. They let you learn.
I’m only 20, and it will probably be a little while before I get the amazing opportunity of being a mother, but I am so excited. I can’t wait to read them bedtime stories, and build forts, and make cookies, and go for hikes with them. To watch them experience the ocean for the first time and discover what they’re passionate about. I just know it’s going to be the best thing I ever do, not because I won’t do anything else with my life, but because, nothing else can really compare.