I was 35 when our daughter was born. I have no idea what I was thinking or doing for those 35 years, but the “older mother” stamp on my OB file confirmed that maybe I should have been thinking and doing long before I was.
Being an “older mom” has, however, had its benefits. One of those benefits was all of the advice I received from friends who were already pretty far down the child rearing road. I learned about enjoying the stages of childhood, about saving school papers in pizza boxes, about the truth that it takes 10 minutes to travel from kindergarten to graduation.
And I learned about helicopter moms.
It took me a while to understand what a helicopter mom was but I did know that it wasn’t a compliment. It wasn’t something I should be. It was negative.
And once I did understand the meaning of helicopter mom, I could never say I completely agreed with the negative connotation it carried. In my way of looking at parenting, God Himself entrusted me with the job of a lifetime the day Abi was born. It was a job that required close observation and attention on my part….for a long time. Even now to some degree.
The word “hover” has always come to mind when I think about a helicopter. Close. Watching. Protecting. Waiting.
What I never wanted to be was a leach mom. A life sucker. A hanger-on. Always attached.
Last night I had a privilege that is becoming all too familiar in these years dubbed “The Sandwich.” I sat beside the bed of a dying man whom I have loved and respected for nearly as long as I have been alive. He was mostly unresponsive during the visit but, as I reminisced through the years with silent him, I could feel Helicopter God in the room.
Helicopter God. Hovering over the bed. Close. Watching. Protecting. Loving His child. Patiently waiting without interfering.
If you stay in those sandwich years long enough, you eventually work yourself out of them. The children grow up and leave. The parents wear out and die. Children leaving and parents dying can both be times of great celebration. And often, the greater the celebration, the greater the loss. It’s painful.