Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Spy

Not all that long ago, a friend mentioned that she reads her 10-year-old daughter's diary. "Really?!" I asked her. "Of course," she answered, rather nonchalantly. I was, frankly, a little horrified. Isn't this wrong? Out of all the ways I am surely screwing my kids up, violating their privacy wasn't going to be one of the ways. That's a line I wasn't going to cross.

Until Kevin, age 12-soon-to-be-13 started using email recently. And really, I wrestled with it for a day or two. Do I just let him have an email account and let him loose with it? Or do I monitor it? I decided to monitor it.

So, I read his email. There, I confess. Really, I just skim it. Nothing titillating or worrisome so far - mostly stuff from his grandma, and more and more stuff from a handful of friends. And you know what? I don't feel bad about it like I thought I would. It's not that I'm trying to catch him at something - he's a good kid. But how can I protect him and guide him if I don't keep close tabs on him?

Here's something though:

I wrote a couple years ago about how, upon entering his classroom with him and then hanging back and just observing, how bittersweet it was to realize how much of a bystander I have become in his life. To see that he really has a whole life apart from me - that he functions and interacts with the world all on his own with no help or input from me - it's both painful to feel that growing separation, and at the same time makes me feel so full of pride towards him for being so adept at just being him. Does that even make sense?

Anyway, today I came across an email exchange between him and a friend at school, and I got that same feeling. Kevin is growing up. He has a life apart from me. He is well-liked. And on some level, it makes me feel like maybe I'm not doing such a bad job at this parenting gig after all.

1 comment:

Leigh Anne said...

i bet you're doing a fine job lisa! and i'm really not really for when sydney is like that...it breaks my heart just thinking about that independence (which she is already starting to show me). i imagine her one day, turning 18 and saying "mom, i love you, but i met a boy, and i'm moving to california"...(will you take care of her for me if this happens, lol, j/k.)...and i did the same thing at 19 (well, Seattle, but still)...so how could i tell her no hahahaha. (of course i even cried over this when i was still pregnant!)

from the way to talk about your kids lisa...i can tell, you've taught them well.