When you have children, you spend a lot of time trying to keep them safe.
Most of the time, that means trying to save them from themselves.
"The stove is HOT. Don't touch."
"Careful. You'll poke your eye out with that stick."
"Don't fight with your brother."
It can be taken to extremes, which is how the helicopter mom is born. The child is never allowed to make a decision or a move without the hovering parent.
I'm not that kind of parent. I firmly believe that children need to make mistakes and, therefore, learn from it. Sometimes, they actually have to touch the hot stove to figure it out.
Don't misunderstand me. I do fight battles for my kids. I am their champion and their biggest ally. But sometimes I have to look them right in the eye and say something along the lines of "You made your bed; now lie in it."
My oldest son is ADHD and, as a youngster, always had a tendency to act without considering consequences. Not because he was malicious, but because he couldn't always generalize the rules. You could tell him not to eat the daisies, but that didn't mean he couldn't or wouldn't eat the roses.
And so I used these immortal words, over and over and over and over:
"Stop. Think. Choose."
He reminded me of this the other night at dinner. I was amused at the memory.
I'm no longer amused.
Because in an amazing display of "Act like a moron and then put your head up your butt," my youngest son is at the intersection of "What were you thinking?" and "Are you freakin' kidding me?"
I'm not going to give details, but rest assured he had multiple opportunities to solve a small blunder and repeatedly -- REPEATEDLY -- failed to do so.
His abject stupidity stuns me, and the results are that this small blunder has escalated into something that could destroy his world.
And while I will continue to offer counsel and some of the assistance necessary to attempt to resolve it, it's time for Mr. "I'm 21 -- I'm an adult" to learn to navigate these troubled waters himself.
So today, I find that the best I have to offer is this:
"Wow. It sucks to be a grownup."