Big change is never easy. I’m now a month into my Las Vegas residency and, quite honestly, it’s been one of the longest months of my life, in both a good and a bad way.
First the good, and obvious, there’s never a shortage of things to do. My coworkers are awesome, I have four Mexican restaurants within a mile of the office, and I’ve already got a voicemail box full of messages that I’ll never listen to. I’m pretty much fully settled in.
Also, the words “last call” don’t exist in Vegas. #WINNING
Then, there are the bad parts. I miss Augusta, I miss the Falcons being on regular TV; I miss my friends and fam, and I miss my coworkers who regularly collected in my office for commiserating, camaraderie and generally wasting Beasley Media Group time. It was, by far, my favorite part of the job.
However, there’s another part of the move that I never considered. My family has been hanging back until I find a house for us to live in. And by “find a house to live in,” I mean “until my son’s football season is over” because, football in the south.
Here’s the thing. I’m a self-proclaimed “Helicopter Dad”, partly because it sounds like a superhero name, but mostly because I just am.
My youngest son calls me at least three times a day, and I answer every single time, no matter what I’m doing. I’d answer for the other two, as well; however, they’re teenagers and have no idea how a phone works.
Seriously, have you ever tried to text your teenager? They won’t text back because they only communicate through Snapchat and Instagram stories, asking people to “LMR” (‘Like My Recent’ photo … because, y’know, people only like it if you ask them to).
Anyway, it’s extremely hard to be a helicopter parent from 2,000 miles away. At first, I thought: “I can survive a month or two. The wife can handle it without me.”
The reality of that is: Of course she can handle it without me! My wife is kind of a badass. But how am I going to hover over their every move, every practice, every note sent home, every parent-teacher conference, every mini-meltdown because “uhmygawd this friend is being so extra” and “I don’t know why coach won’t put me in.” The obvious answer is: I can’t. But, there’s something else.
The tragedy that unfolded last week at Bernie Ward Community Center hit me hard. I didn’t know any of the kids involved, but I knew every one of them. Meaning, it’s every kid my boys have played football with for the past 10 years.
Football practice is my thing. It’s been my thing every evening for the better part of those 10 years. To just imagine the scene unfolding brings chills to my spine and tears to my eyes. I’ve never met that kid or his parents. But I feel like I know them personally. I grew up practicing football on those very fields. My heart breaks for that family.
This whole thing has, of course, made me think of my own children. At the root of every Helicopter Parent’s purpose is just that: The thought of the absolute worst thing imaginable happening to our kids at any given moment. We try so hard to protect them, but the reality is, we can only do so much.
Giving our kids space to live and learn is better for them in the long run. I guess the idea is to find a good balance between the two. Personally, I can’t wait to get back to hovering altitude.