I never really had a chance. Unwavering overprotection runs deep on all sides of my family. My great grandmother was only allowed to wear one roller skate at a time until she was 12.
In my family, we were told you could die doing anything. “Stop jumping on the bed! You’re going to fall off, break your neck, and die!” “Do not put those marbles anywhere near your mouth! You could choke on them, and die!” “Don’t turn the page of that book so fast! You could get a paper cut, it could get infected, and then you’ll die!”
It’s no secret that this is also my parenting style. Everything terrifies me to my very core, and in a way that’s super unhealthy. If I knew we were taking our kids swimming the next day, I would stay awake all night, stressed about the terrors of drowning. Crazy, right?!
Then something BIG happened. Something I wasn’t able to protect my child from. Piet was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 21 months old. There was literally nothing I could have done differently or protected him in any way. It was just his destiny.
I was forced to loosen my grip. I took on a brand new outlook on life, and started practicing cleansing breaths. If my son was going to have a chronic illness and there was nothing I could have done to stop it, then I just needed to let my kids enjoy life.
There is no way I could have maintained my over-the-top overprotection AND managed type 1, so something had to go or I would absolutely go mad. Of course, I’m still a little crazy. No one is allowed to jump on beds, play with marbles, or vigorously turn pages… But, maybe someday kids.