The older my kids get, the more I find myself longing for some of the very things I wished away most when they were little. Like the stroller I cursed time after time, which in hindsight was the perfect mall accessory. Or like having to lug around stacks of diapers and pacifiers, which would really come in handy these days when I can’t seem to pacify my screaming children who, without fail, have to pee every time we pull away from the house.
Probably more than anything, though, I miss the days when I was solely responsible for picking their friends. Because now that they’re choosing friends of their own, I’m finding their taste is a little…questionable.
Back in the day, the kids happily played with friends belonging to my friends and life was as it should be. Joint family dinners stemmed from play dates, family vacations were taken together and I always felt comfortable with a sleepover, because I had hand-picked their caregiver for the night. But then they had to go and grow up and start forming friendships without my consent, and I’m not ok with it.
Sure, some of their friends are still kids whose parents are my friends, and of course, they have picked a handful of winners. But then there are the other kids. The kids I just want to pluck out of our lives and never look back.
Last week, I was looking through Lily’s iTouch wondering just how morally wrong it would be to block the numbers of all the kids I don’t approve of. It wasn’t that the texts were evil or terribly worrisome, just that they were from kids I wouldn’t have picked myself… and obviously I know best. There are the girls she complains about being bullies but then with whom she suddenly wants me to plan sleepovers. There are the kids who made fun of her for something that she cannot remember but I will never forget. And then there are the kids who did nothing wrong other than live in a zip code that’s just too far for a lazy mother like myself.
The scariest thing is that the stuff I’m dealing with now is as good as it is going to get. What happens in middle school and high school if I don’t like their friends? When the choices they make could have serious repercussions that I can’t even let myself think about? I know it’s all part of raising them right and trusting them to make their own choices — yada yada yada –but, really, I’d just rather be in control of this one.
And I really don’t think it’s too much to ask, with all I do for those kids. I just need to get them on board.