When I heard someone say it’s the nature of American mothers to worry about everything… I didn’t realize I was an extreme example of that…and, actually, a Paranoid American Mother! It took Lara’s arrival for me to realize it…and I think my kids will thank her for it!
The Coordinator for Aspect Foundation, the Exchange Student Program that Lara is with, warns Students that American Mothers ask a lot of questions, want to know where their children are and are just plain nosey! The kids laugh about it… and I’m starting to laugh at myself about it as well.
When Lara first got here, we wanted to be in constant contact with her…like we are with our own
children. After all… what if there was an emergency… or if she got lost…. or just needed to ask us how to say something in English? Since she’s new in this country, doesn’t she NEED us to hold her hand? Like we THINK our own children do? So, for $10 a month, we got her an “an electronic leash”. Yep! We added her to our cell phone plan and gave her an extra phone we had. Whew! Now I can text her about things like, “How was your test?” or “How was your lunch?” or “Did you make a new friend?” You know… stupid American Mom things.
The next clue that I was a Paranoid American Mom was during a trip to the grocery store with only Lara. While I was waiting at the Deli, she took off to another part of the store. Oh my gosh! I had the same feeling that I did when my kids were just 5 years old… and ran away for the toy section… and I’d freak out thinking they were going to get lost or kidnapped! Within a few seconds I was almost slapping myself in the face saying, “She’s 15 years old, Victoria! Get a grip!” I moved on down the Produce section, certain she would return and find me. Of course, I kept looking over my shoulder, just to be sure!
The next test… how to use something as basic as a garbage disposal. You see, in Germany, they don’t have garbage disposals that chop up all your food scraps in the sink. They simply do it the old-fashioned way…put it in the trash. Can you imagine Americans still doing that? Seriously? We are so spoiled. Anyway, after Lara saw us use the garbage disposal a few times, she asked how to use it. By now, you can probably guess how I reacted! I must have told her a million times, “Don’t ever, ever, EVER put your fingers in there!” For those who know me… can you hear me saying that? Even tonight, I said it again…and she’s used it a few times WITHOUT me being there!! How funny is that??
And the last bit of proof that I’m extremely paranoid…is when Lara went for her first jog! Now that the temperatures have cooled down a little here, Lara just had to release some of that built up energy. So yesterday, she ventured out… before it got dark, of course. After all, there’s no way I’d let her out AFTER dark for her first run! Even when Brittany wants to run at night, I don’t even let her go around the block. Our street only! Up and down, up and down! For her first jog in America, can you imagine the questions and comments that came out of my mouth for Lara? “Do you know which street is which?” “Stay on the sides of the street, in the bike lane, or the sidewalk!” “Don’t go past this street or that street!” “Take your cell phone!” And most importantly… “Don’t talk to strangers…. Don’t talk to strangers…. Don’t talk to strangers…. Oh…and…whatever you do…DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS!”
Whew! I sure feel better getting this all out! And although I think I might be driving Lara crazy…. she hasn’t told me so. Not yet. So I guess I’ll continue to treat her like I do my own kids… pestering and nagging… pestering and nagging. And ultimately… I will win the Award of the Year for the Most Paranoid American Mom! I promise you… I will accept it proudly!
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