I’m questioning my parenting this week. I allowed my 17-year-old daughter to go to Chicago for a concert. With a friend whose last name I still don’t know and who I couldn’t pick out of a lineup. On the Megabus. Without being totally positive about where she’d be sleeping.
In fairness to me, my high school senior has never given me reason to mistrust her, and she is fairly street-savvy. Punctuality and time management, though, are not her strengths, and she tends to go about life just assuming everything will work out, even if she makes no discernible effort to make it so.
For instance, she didn’t buy her bus ticket until two nights before her departure — and only because I asked her if she had made the purchase. As for her overnight accommodations, she considered a recent Snapchat conversation with her teenage cousin confirmation enough that she had a place to stay. The parents had no idea!
And yet, I let her go. As punishment for my lack of maternal caring, I did suffer through one extremely long night of anxiety driven by thoughts of every possible thing that could go wrong, from not being able to park in downtown Indy to becoming a murder victim off Lake Michigan.
Alas, she survived and had an amazing time, despite — or maybe because of — a few interesting moments, including walking into a house at midnight that turned out not to be her uncle’s. And I suppose I learned a good lesson. You have to let your children take risks, even if it makes you feel like a bad parent.