I'm scared. Really scared.
What do I know about raising kids? What do I know about counseling them and laying the foundation for a solid set of values that will carry them through the perils of today's society?
Maybe it's recent conversations I've had with people about family members who are battling a drug problem. Maybe it's the dismal state of the economy and the seemingly endless number of political battles on the horizon.
Maybe it was looking at my 8-year-old daughter and thinking that yesterday she was 4 and tomorrow, she'll be 16.
The entire burden of what it means to raise a child came crashing down on me, and I started questioning my every decision.
Have I blown eight years? Was I home enough? Did I listen enough? Did we read together enough? Was I, too, impatient when I helped her with her homework? Did I push too hard? Was I too strict? Not strict enough?
The list goes on and on.
Do all parents feel this way? Am I overreacting?
Me. It's all me.
Granted, I've got support in many forms. Friends and family aren't hanging me out to dry, but still, I'm responsible for this little being. And, not to be glib, but it's a tough world out there.
Katie's at an age where friendships are fragile. One day, someone is her best friend, the next day they're not. The reasons are vague: "she wouldn't play what I wanted to play" or "she said she doesn't like me anymore. I don't know why."
And it breaks my heart.
How can I ever endure eighth-grade drama? What do I say when my oh-so-special girl doesn't feel pretty enough, smart enough, fast enough?
How do I find the confidence to let her make her own decisions, even when I know they're wrong?
For me, autumn always has been quiet time.
Just the smell brings waves of nostalgia.
Maybe I'm getting carried away by the season.
I have many questions, and not so many answers. I wonder if my own parents had the same worries. I wonder how other parents handle those same worries.
It seems to me that you have a very small window in which to influence the person your child will be. Looking at my daughter, it occurred to me that more than half my window was closed.
They don't lie when they say it goes fast. And, this isn't one of those cases where you can say, "That was interesting. Didn't quite work, but I'll do better next time."
This is a one-shot deal and mistakes can cost them the rest of their lives.
How's that for pressure?
I'm like every other parent out there, feeling their way though unfamiliar territory doing the best they can.
But what if my best isn't good enough?