When you walk into my front hallway on any given day there are any number of bags - school bags, computer bags, purses, lunch bags, swim bags, dance bags.
And I am the designated keeper of the bags. I am also air traffic control when it comes to the bags, lining them up depending on the day. Monday is swim day, Tuesday is dance day, Thursday is PE day. You get the drill.
Don’t get me wrong. My girls are old enough to make sure their bags are packed and ready for the particular day, but I always go behind them, especially with my youngest, and make sure everything is there. Tap shoes, check. Water bottle, check. Goggles, check. Towel, check.
“Mom, why is there a towel in my book bag,” my daughter asked me one morning recently. I had a pretty good idea why. Her book bag was next to the swim bag and I was going down the line checking, adding, deleting.
“I’m sorry. I obviously got the bags confused,” I replied sheepishly, pulling the towel out and re-stuffing it in the proper bag.
“That’s pretty funny, Mom. The bags don’t even look alike,” she smiled, delighted with my tired parenting lapse.
The bag dance consumes about 30 minutes every evening, and it’s not really as much about the bags as it is about how busy our lives are and how as parents we need to allow our children to eventually shoulder some of the baggage.
Maybe one day she doesn’t have a water bottle, or a towel because I didn’t check the bag. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, and it would probably encourage her to do the checking herself.
Once again, it’s these letting go moments in parenting that are tough, navigating our children’s transitions into independent beings.
Now, if I only had someone to pack my bag so I wouldn’t continually forget things. The other day it was my wallet.
“Hey, can you spot me for lunch?” I asked my photographer Chad. “Forgot my wallet.”
“Shocking,” he replied sarcastically. “That never happens.”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.