Frantic Friday

Two Friday afternoons ago, Second Daughter and Only Son left for some errands, bringing the car with them and forgetting to bring their cellphones. Yup, both of them. Two cellphones rendered useless. You must know that the only reason that I had conceded to buying them cellphones is for their father and I to be able to monitor their whereabouts and safety when they are not in the house.

So there were Husband and I wondering where our children were. I certainly was hoping that they were not helpless in some dangerous place, although I did not verbalize that. It was past 8 o'clock in the evening (dark!), and to properly condition your imagination, I must tell you that we live in the city. Not in its outskirts, not in the suburbs, but right in it.

Just when I was contemplating on what to do other than wait, the prodigal children arrived.

"Hello!!" they said, and proceeded to cheerily chat about something that I don't even remember now. Yup. Like. Everything. Was. Okay.

Because the family was about to sit for late dinner, I decided to let it go. Temporarily.

However, their father, who has mastered the be-soft-spoken-and-make-them-feel-sorry-that-they-hurt-you style of parental correction, took over and after allowing a round of alibis and lame arguments, was able to extract meek apologies and sincere resolutions. (Yup. How. Does. He. Do. That.)

And there was peace.

The dinner of gone-cold rice, grilled milkfish, and salted duck eggs-tomato-onion salad tasted exceptionally good. We even watched TV afterwards, switching between a soapie and basketball, and passed around some chips.

The foregoing is actually my winding way of wondering where, in my children's lives, should I position myself as a parent.

As I had pondered many blog posts ago, I ponder again today: Is there really a thin line between guiding your children in their decisions and activities, and stage-mommying and insisting on running their lives for them? Could not have I trusted instead that they would go home before we lost our minds? Was my reckoning of the appointed hour rather unreasonable? (On the other hand, I did trust them to bring their phones...)

If I overdo my act, my children might turn out wimpy and and unable to decide and fend for themselves. If I under-do my act, my children might turn out wimpy and and unable to decide and fend for themselves. But I cannot not do anything. "Passive" is never an adjective that sits well with the noun"parents".

In the end, it must be the cautious, iterative, and unrelenting balancing act that all parents do no matter how young or old their children are. Saint Monica also prayed, and look where it got her son.

Finally, trite as it may sound, I guess parenting is being available for them in the here and now. And for now, all my children are still in my house with all of us living off their father's labor, family dynamics is good, housekeeping and meals can be better, and while we live a far-from-a-charmed life, we are learning some manners, e.g., punctuality and due consideration for worried parents, and making some respectable memories on the side.

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