The Ultimate Sign of Trust

When I was in college, I learned many pearls of wisdom from the conversations I had with my academic advisor.  In one of our many conversations, she told me that the ultimate sign of trust was allowing someone to babysit your kids.  She was a mother of two young daughters and that conversation still sticks with me today.

When my son was born, I knew I was going to be a little overprotective.  He is my first and only child (so far) and I'm also a little bit of a "control freak."  I like things done in a particular way.  I'm a big believer in the saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."  It's how I do my daily tasks and for the most part, it's how I am as a parent.

For the last seventeen months, my wife and I have been the main caretakers/bodyguards of our son.  She would rather care for him full time as a stay-at-home mom than work and pay someone else to babysit him.  She, I, or both of us are always with him.  You could say that we both are pretty overprotective.

I didn't think I was going to be that overprotective, but I became increasingly so when I saw people handling him.  When people held him, some weren't as careful as I wanted them to be.  Since he was big for his age, people thought he was older, and were swinging him around like he was older.  At one holiday party, relatives were so excited to hold him that they didn't listen to my directions.  I told them that if they held him, they had to hold him while sitting down and couldn't pass him to anyone.  The moment I let a relative hold him, it all hit the fan.  People ran around with him, and wouldn't sit down when I asked them to.  They passed him to each other without being mindful that he was only four months old at that time.  My wife almost had a heart attack watching his head bop up and down since people forgot that he wasn't old enough to hold his own head up yet. 

I've also noticed my parents and parents of adults didn't like to listen to me.  In their mind, they've raised kids before (even if it was decades ago), they know what they're doing, so don't need to listen to me, even if it's my own kid.  All this is just made me more apprehensive in letting other people babysit him.

The only person that we have trusted to babysit our son is my wife's friend; let's call her Caitlin (cause that's really her name). She watched him at our home when he was fourteen months old so that my wife and I could go on a movie date.  It took a lot for us to trust her with our son.  She has babysat many children before, works well with children, and has always been a trustworthy person.  As far as I know, she followed our directions dutifully and she even sent picture messages to our cell phones to let us know that everything was alright.

I know that it's not always going to be this way.  Eventually, my son will start going to school.  While he is in school, I'm going to have to trust his safety and well being to his teachers and the rest of the school staff.  As he gets older, I'm going to have to trust more people who will interact with my son in some shape or form. 

At the same time, I will have to trust my son.  It's going to have to happen.  I can't watch him 24/7.  I refuse to be a helicopter parent that constantly hovers over him.  He will be exposed to bad influences.  People will tempt him in devious ways.  From now and for the rest of his life, I'm going to have to trust my parenting skills and trust that he will make the right decisions when it's necessary.

I am definitely not going to let go of the leash completely.  I'm always going to keep an eye on him in one way or another.  I'm going to keep a watchful eye to an appropriate extent.  Control must be balanced with trust.  As he gets older, I hope to be able to trust him more and slowly let go.  I guess being able to trust my son with himself might actually be the ultimate sign of trust.

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