Since I have been in recovery, all of my behavior and thinking is under a microscope – the microscope is manned by none other than myself. I see the paradox here, the awareness is good, but the over-analysis is also one of the character defects that I believe helps make my life more difficult than it should be.
Enter Sunday, a normal parenting situation that exposes my character defect of needing to feel like I am in control and knowledgeable about everything, and my new recovery habit of analyzing my thinking and behavior. Yet it remains unclear where the line is drawn between good concerned parenting and over complicating things. I struggle to find that line and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
My 14 year old son was going to a paintball birthday party, a new group of kids and parents who I didn’t know at all. The invitation was the paintball company form letter, with a start time penciled in and an address, no end time, no name of birthday kid, etc. I drove my son to the paintball place and started examining and profiling the one kid who was there already – not the usual type my son hangs out with I thought. I introduced myself to this kids father, and after finding out he had no more information than myself, we commiserated about our need to know what was going on. Eventually a larger group of kids was dropped off, including the birthday boy, and the parent driver drove away. Waited about 10 minutes and still no adult, the group of 9 kids were obviously waiting for something as we were past the start time on the invitation and they were not moving toward the paintball line, myself and the one other dad were still the only parents hanging out. My head was spinning, was the parent who drove off the Mom? Was she coming back? Would there be adult supervision? Who was going to pay? I considered going over to the group because I was sure the birthday boy would know the details – but I didn’t want to embarrass my son – who already thought I was worrying too much. The deep analysis was in full swing, planning my exit move, no faith that it would just “work out”.
Eventually the boys parents arrived: Totally casual, “Hi, nice to meet you, should be about two hours, they’ll have a great time”. Ok, now we are good, it is NO BIG DEAL. Obviously it is a good thing to not drop off my son without knowing what is happening, but I also had to overanalyze, assume, predict, and basically (in my head) overcomplicate this small situation. And then I had to analyze my own thinking and behavior.
As I walked away with the other concerned Dad, I said “Must be nice to be that casual, it would make my life a lot easier”.
“Someday we will learn”, he said.