Several years ago I read a piece in which the author criticized parents for being paranoid about child abductions and terror attacks when, statistically-speaking, their children were more likely to be hurt as the result of a household accident or heart disease. It talked about too much hovering and not paying attention to the things that might actually happen to your kid like too much saturated fat or a broken ankle skiing. I used the piece in Sociology class when we discussed parenting styles and socialization. I was not yet a parent.
I was and am, however, a classic worry wart. I tell my ninth graders, “I can see the danger in any situation.” My brain often jumps to the darkest places… I just can’t help it (my sister Mo would likely tell you that this is a result of all the true crime magazines I read between 1982 and 1987 while sitting on my piano teacher’s couch waiting for our mom to pick us up after lessons). Worry-wart that I am, I truly work to make sure that this personality trait first, does not hold me back from doing things and second, does not drive Chris or Louis crazy (as I am sure that a few years down the road I will be driving Lou crazy regardless of how much I try not to… I am, after all, his mom).
On Thursday, Louis went skiing at school. There were no permission slips or waivers involved. No opt-outs. No parents phoning the kids out that day. Simply, two days earlier his teacher told Chris to bring skis for Lou (Side note: Lou hadn’t skied before and yes, I know we live in Ski Town USA but last winter, too small, this winter, um, living in Finland!).
Wednesday, Chris tracked down a second-hand ski shop where he was able to locate skis for the lad. Mind you…Chris did this via bus out to the farthest reaches of Jyväskylä on a day when the temps read -31 Celsius and the kid at the counter said “Anteeksi, we only take cash” at which point Chris walked around the frigid streets until he found an ATM (“you’ll never need cash in Finland”… yeah right!)…that’s a big heart right there. Chris set his boots up and we took him out for a practice ski. Happy kid!
So, worry…I really hoped it wasn’t -31 again on ski day (it wasn’t; it was -27 that day). And I really hoped Lou would be into it (he was, going so far as to put his skis back on later that night while he was in his PJs and then, completely in the buff!). But I really didn’t worry about it. I think this Finnish trust is rubbing off on me. For some reason, I was able to put my worry-wartedness aside (or maybe it got frozen to a pole somewhere), not envision broken bones or tears, and just roll with it.