Loosening The Reins

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Last weekend we took our kids to our local amusement park. Nothing new, we go almost every other weekend. We love riding rides, seeing shows, and enjoying the beautiful Virginia summer. What made this trip different was my middle child, my most cautious child, decided he would brave a roller coaster! My first thought was ok sure, not thinking he would actually go through with it. Little did I know he meant what he said.

What’s the big deal you ask? Well if you are a controlling parent like myself, loosening the reins can be a challenge. I thought maybe I should not let him go, he will be too scared, I know what’s best, and on and on. Meanwhile, my husband is doing his job explaining how fun and thrilling it will be…your first roller coaster will be so fun! I could not help all the feelings washing over me-panic, stress, fear, all over a roller coaster. I know, I can be a bit dramatic when it comes to my kids.

We get there and he gets in line with his dad and sister, excited. This is happening. There I am standing underneath this giant mammoth of a coaster, waiting. I am waiting to see my three peeps drop and go into the spiral-turning ride it is. These feelings become stronger and I feel justified and ridiculous all at the same time. I shouldn’t have let hime on, I was right, and oh my gosh woman, this is just a ride! Calm down! I know, I am a tad crazy I will admit. Then I see them. I see my son and his scared little face. I melt and wait at the gate for him to come off and me to hold and coddle him. He emerges proud, giddy, high on adrenaline! “I did it Mom, I did it!” he says. I’m happy, proud, and relieved. My husband told me he got cold feet as they got on but told him he could do it, and he would be right there beside him the whole time.

That’s it folks. As scary and exciting as life can be, we cannot make every decision for our children. We have to be willing to loosen the reins, let them experience this life, the highs and lows. That doesn’t mean we all won’t have moments like I did. But I’m glad I didn’t shelter my child from that thrilling experience. He was so proud of himself, and he just needed that extra push and reassurance. That’s our role as parents. To tell them it will be alright and that we will always be beside them, even if we are just as scared inside.

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