It’s Not You, It’s Me

 

It’s been brought to my attention from time to time that I can come across as somewhat “controlling.” Not in an abusive, dictatorial, megalomaniacal way, but in a slightly overbearing, I need irrefutable evidence that a way is better than mine to desist kind of way. I’d like to think that it’s not at a level where I become unlikable, but have no illusions about the number of people reading right now that may be nodding their heads in agreement with my self-assessment.

The perception of me as a huge pain in the ass is even more magnified when it comes to my duaghter. I call my wife every night from work for updates on what’s going on and expect both grammies to have detailed reports ready for me whenever they have her. A suggestion to her preschool that they should install web cams and live stream her class was set aside for future consideration.

It’s not that I don’t trust other people, though I can certainly see how that impression may be given. I just don’t like missing things. I want to know what’s happening in my absence.

It’s an issue that I’m going to have to find a way to get over soon, as she starts to approach the age where play dates and birthday parties start to become more “drop and go” affairs. I’m going to be placing my daughter’s well being in the hands of others, and I don’t particularly care for it.

 

This past weekend we attended a party at the home of one of Alaina’s school friends. The parents are people that we like and we hope that the girls are in the same class next year as they head into kindergarten so that they can continue to build on their friendship.

They’re people we like, but not that we know well. Alaina was excited when an invitation was offered for her to sleep over, I was less so. We ended up bringing her home, not because of any trepidation that I felt about leaving her (seriously guys, it wasn’t you) but because we simply had too much going on the following day to risk dealing with an overtired grumpy pants. I was also afraid that she wouldn’t get enough sleep either.

 

It occurred to me, however, that there are going to be other times when I really am not comfortable leaving her at other people’s houses. Determining when my concerns are legitimate and when I’m just unfairly judging situations could lead to some uncomfortable moments.

Is their breed of dog a good enough reason? Growing up I had friends that owned both pitbulls and rottweilers. They were fantastic dogs that never caused any problems. No dogs do, until they do. There are over 330,000 Emergency room visits a year from dog bites, most of them by family dogs or dogs of family friends.  I work in a hospital and have seen first hand the damage that these animals are capable of, even if raised correctly.

Firearms? In 2015, 265 children under eighteen shot somebody or themselves by accident. Eighty-three of these were fatal and the vast majority happened in the home of the gun owner. Good friends of ours, who also have a daughter Alaina’s age, own multiple guns. I trust them to have the weapons locked and secured away appropriately, but what is the etiquette for broaching the subject with others? I can’t just turn around every time I see an NRA sticker in somebody’s window.

Pools, unlocked prescription medications, samurai swords in ornate display cases. The concerns are endless.

 

I’m at least pretty sure that as she gets older and more self-responsible I should have an easier time. Some of the places where I spent a lot of time as a child had questionable adult supervision and very few of my scars are a result of these times. Some of my fondest memories and closest friendships were forged on a horse farm that probably should have required some sort of waiver signed before my parents left me there.

In the meantime, people are just going to have to understand. If I get caught checking your carbon monoxide detectors or testing your fire extinguishers, don’t take it personally. The range on her walkie talkies are almost three hundred yards. Chances are you’ll never even notice me behind those bushes. Consider that new “children at play” sign by the roadside a gift. Appreciation for sticking to that list of approved activities I taped to her sleeping bag.

I swear, the problem isn’t with you, it’s me.

 

 

 

J

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Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms