Letting Go is Tough

Archived | July 5, 2013 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It’s been a humdinger of a week with the festivities of the Fourth, the kids’ work schedules, the lawn chores, the heat. I’ve been making lemonade daily, and, instead of using the oven, throwing together salads filled with fruit and sunflower seeds and shredded vegetables and dried cranberries. Light things. Bowls of raspberries and cantaloupe chunks, fresh pineapple and blueberries, watermelon sliced in triangles.
There are bags of potato chips on the counter, however. And some beef jerky and trail mix and pink wafer cookies. The kids are headed to camp on Monday, and I can’t very well send a sack of fruit. So it’s licorice and nuts and jellied fruit snacks. That’s my responsibility. The food. Along with mosquito repellent and sunscreen. The basics. I used to pack all of the kids’ things for camp — clothes and sleeping bags and swimsuits and such — but they’re to a point now where they want me to butt on out. “We can do it ourselves, Mom,” they say, in a reassuring tone with an independent air.
This is how it is supposed to go. I remember when they were young, earlier with each of them, the phrase, “I can do it myself.” It’s a healthy thing for a child to say. And healthy for the parent to back off and let it happen. It isn’t easy for someone like me, though, a kind of type A perfectionist who can relax, certainly, but enjoys getting it all done, and done well. Letting go is tough. Especially when you see a mistake in the making, and you want to intervene. “I think the person you are dating is a real dork.” Or, “I think you’re going to majorly regret quitting that job.” Or, “Maybe being in the play on top of work and school is a completely insane overload.” There are gentle ways to communicate concern, and I do, but kids need to make mistakes. And sometimes what Mr. Sundberg and I see as a mistake really is the right move. Thing is, this is where experience comes from, and, eventually, wisdom. From doing it yourself, and sometimes screwing up.
A parent’s prime directive is to foster independence. It’s a real gift. You want the day to come when they pack up and leave for good. And you hope that they will always, always, come back. Even for a day. So as the kids pack for camp, I’m watching, and thinking, yes, and Onward. And hoping they remember to pack a jacket, or a sweatshirt. You just never know.
Heat like we’re having this summer brings on the salt craving. Instead of opening a bag of chips, try one of these nut bars. The bonus is a dose of protein, and they taste dang good.
Caramel Nut Bars
1½ cups flour
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
Mix in lightly greased 9×13 pan. Pat evenly, and bake 10 minutes at 350. Let cool.
6 oz butterscotch chips
½ cup white corn syrup
2 T butter
1 T water
Combine chips, syrup, butter and water in a saucepan and melt on low heat. Stir well. Pour a can of mixed nuts, cashews or peanuts over crust, and pour butterscotch mixture over. Bake 10 minutes at 350. Let cool, and cut.