Family / Kids / Parenting

Are You an OLP? (Overprotective Lesbian Parent)

fear-198933_640This morning I dropped my ten-year-old son off at school with everything he needed to survive a two-night field trip in California’s Gold Country: two pairs of shorts (he hates pants), two shirts, two pairs each of underwear and socks, minimal toiletries, a jacket that he’s unlikely to wear, four Mad Libs tablets, his Kindle, and a snack bag. I handed a bottle of cold medicine over to his teacher and told his parent chaperone, “If he coughs at night, give him the medicine so you can sleep.” My kid and I fist bumped a goodbye then I walked away, looking forward to hearing about his adventures when he returns home on Wednesday.

And then I wondered, Who the hell have I become?

As I drove away from school, I remembered an article I had written two years ago, as I was preparing (yes I was preparing) for my son to go on his first overnight field trip, Confessions of an Overprotective Lesbian Parent (OLP). When I got home, I looked up the article and read the litany of concerns I’d had that I couldn’t even fathom experiencing today.

Is it possible, I considered, that I’m no longer an OLP?

I checked the signs:

  1. I did not leave a love note in my son’s backpack or snack bag.
  2. I did not, in hindsight, fear that my son would feel unloved or forget me because I did not leave a note in his backpack or snack bag.
  3. I did not label all of his clothes.
  4. I did not, in hindsight, fear that he would lose all of his clothes because I did not label them.
  5. I did not sneak a tiny stuffed animal into his backpack, just in case.
  6. I did not, in hindsight, regret that I had not snuck a tiny stuffed animal into his backpack, just in case.
  7. I did not affix a yellow sticky note to his deodorant, reminding him to please, please remember to use it.
  8. I did not affix a yellow sticky note to his sunscreen, reminding him to please, please remember to use it.
  9. I did not affix a yellow sticky note to his toothbrush, reminding him to please, please remember to use it.
  10. I did not insist he pack three extra pairs of socks or two extra pairs of shoes or a scarf and gloves, just in case.
  11. I did not remind him to use his manners.
  12. I did not remind him that not every adult appreciates potty jokes.
  13. I did remind him what a bummer it would be if he accidentally lost his Kindle on the trip, and then I let him take it along because: his Kindle; his choice.
  14. I did not give his teacher or his parent chaperone an itemized list of all his special needs, because I finally realize he has no special needs, he just has needs, like any other kid, and he knows how to get them met.
  15. I did not take seven hundred pictures of each step of his journey from his classroom to the chaperone’s car. I took one. He made the goofiest face possible.
  16. I did not ask him to wipe that goofy look off his face and take a second picture, with a real smile this time, because, like the fist bump he gave me instead of a hug and kiss, this is what he was willing to offer, and that’s something I’m ready to accept.
  17. I did not wave and wave and wave to my son’s silhouette as his chaperone’s car drove away.
  18. I did not ask for the chaperone’s driver’s license number or his car’s license plate number, VIN number, location and number of airbags, maintenance records, or tire pressure gauge readings, nor did I even think about asking for that information until right now.
  19. I (mostly) do not regret not thinking to ask for that information, because (mostly) I believe my kid is (and I, for that matter, am) going to be okay.

So there you have it. I guess we’re both growing up.

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3 Comments

  1. Did I leave my trip prep list lying out somewhere? 😉 Thank you–again–for putting our shared experience into words. I’ll bet your kid (and you) even survived the weekend!

    • He arrived home with a mild sunburn and a slightly cocky smile when I asked if he’d applied sunscreen at any point during the trip. Apparently “freedom from my OLP” means “choosing pink skin over sunscreen.” Whatevs (says the recovering OLP).

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