A mother or father’s intuition is important. Sometimes it’s the warning bell for little things like too much screen time or too much sugar. Other times it’s the big stuff like bullying or when you just know your kid’s not ready for sleep away camp.
Those instincts or intuitions or feelings or paranoias or whatever you want to call them are not to be ignored. They are oftentimes what keep your children safe and happy and healthy.
But all the feelings in the world don’t matter unless they’re served up with a side of Mom Guts.
This morning Grady had his wellness visit at the doctor’s office which meant he would be late for camp. No big deal. But because his camp takes place on a small island that you can only get to by boat, Grady missed the charter with his group.
When we arrived at camp, they had arranged for someone to take Grady over to the island in the spare safety boat. Almost immediately I was uncomfortable with the idea of this one man taking Grady out on a boat by himself. I don’t know him. I don’t know where they’re going. I don’t have any way of supervising this boat ride. I have no way of checking in with Grady. I’m just giving my child to a stranger and hoping for the best. It didn’t feel right.
But I left.
I got in my car and sat there silently panicking. I watched from a distance as Grady put a lifejacket on and walked down the dock by himself to get on a boat with a total stranger. My mind was racing with terrible scenarios.
I felt dizzy. Like I might throw up. I was sweating and anxious and completely unnerved. Every instinct, every intuition, every feeling in my body was telling me to do something. But I didn’t want to offend this man. He was probably the nicest man on earth. He could be up for sainthood. But then again, there’s the other possibility. Was it worth the chance?
I jumped out of my car. I serpentined through ropes. And I sprinted down the dock as the man and Grady pulled away in the boat by themselves. I was screaming for them to come back to the dock. And they did.
There was another camp counselor nearby watching me scream and wave and pretty much freak out. I explained to him that while I’m sure the man taking my son over to the island is a nice person, I don’t feel comfortable with them being alone. I asked him to please find a second adult to go for the ride with them. And he did.
The counselor hopped on board the boat, no problem. No questions asked. No one looked at me like I was crazy. The guy on the boat with my son was not offended. Grady, (clueless as to what was going on) was smiling and waving at me with a thumbs up. It was all totally fine.
I learned such a big lesson this morning. All of the mother’s intuitions in the world don’t mean jack shit if you don’t have the guts to back them up. And while I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t follow my intuition immediately, I’m so glad my Mom Guts kicked in in time to do the right thing for my son.
We are our kids’ lifelines to safety and innocence. If we see something, we should say something. If we feel something, we should do something. And if we aren’t sure, then we should wait until we are sure.
Mom Guts. Don’t leave home without ’em, ladies. (And gentlemen.)