The first time one of our kids left home for a few days without us, I was a bit of a wreck. I worried about the travel. Would roads be icy and would the other drivers be idiots? It didn’t matter that it was summer and she flew. Worries and irrationality are great dancers when they partner up. They spin around mommy brains at 3am and those stilettos irrationality wears really, really hurt. Since that first separation, we’ve waved goodbye to kids who have climbed aboard planes, charter busses, and cars driven by people who I trust aren’t idiots.
It gets easier. I trust them more. But that doesn’t stop me from giving or at the very least thinking ridiculous advice.
One of my kids is out of town right now. The kid is off on a school-related trip many mountains away. Before leaving, I had to bite my tongue numerous times because advice can quickly slip to insult.
Wear your seatbelt! This kid has been an avid seatbelt clicker since graduating from a carseat. I’ve never had to argue, ask, or stress over seatbelt use with this child, so why would I suddenly have to worry now? I wasn’t going to treat my near-adult as a young child. So, I let it go and I trusted the example we’ve set and the 100% compliance record would suffice.
Here is ridiculous advice I’ve actually given to various kids upon the occasion of their suitcase rolling away and I’m not:
~ If there are icicles, don’t stand under them. Don’t look up at them and don’t knock them down.
~ Check your boots for scorpions every morning!
~ If you have to lean over the boat to throw up, take off your sunglasses.
~ But don’t lean over too far!
~ Let your feet breathe at night! Take off your socks!
~ If there’s a hot tub at the hotel, don’t stay in it for too long. You’ll get a headache.
~ Hang up your swimsuit to dry in the bathroom. Do not leave it balled up! Unfurl!
~ Don’t mix your dirty clothes with the clean. Pack a kitchen trash bag and use it!
~ Just because we’re giving you $X.XX doesn’t mean you have to spend it all!
~ Make good choices at the gift shop.
~ If you touch anything on the subway, wash your hands as soon as possible!
~ Don’t clog toilets.
~ If there are bunkbeds, try to get a top bunk. You don’t know how strong they are and you don’t want to be sleeping on the bottom and find out.
~ Take pictures of things and places, not just people.
~ But don’t hold your camera over the side of the boat.
~ I see there’s a mixer planned on the schedule. Brush your hair before you go.
~ If you’re at a restaurant and have your own check, don’t forget to tip! Do 20%, even if service isn’t that great because restaurant work is hard! ***THIS IS WHERE I LAUNCH INTO ALL MY BORING FOOD SERVICE WORK STORIES*** Back on track: To figure out 20%, first determine 10%. Like, if your bill is $10.48, 10% is $1.05 because you round up. Then, double that! (I told this to a child who has taken Pre-Calculus and is currently in Statistics.)
~ Use the bathroom before you get on the big bus/airplane. I know it has one, but you want to avoid it if you can. What if you go over a bump/hit turbulence or something?
~ Don’t be that guy who doesn’t wear a coat. They have a very different kind of winter there. It’s more humid and the cold feels colder.
I’m sure there are many more golden tidbits of unwelcome advice spawned by motherly over-thinking. These are just a few I can remember uttering, to my horror. Yes, some of it is solid advice, but most are redundantly common sense. My hope is by the time they are grown I will stop anticipating what could go wrong and trust in their capability.