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Giving up control (at least a little)

| Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008

I'm not exactly sure when I became a control freak. Was I born this way, or did it develop over time• Probably a combination of both. Either way, I am pretty certain that I am one, and I'm sadly also suspicious that it's an inside joke among my family and friends.

I think that I began developing these controlling traits as a young child. The youngest and only daughter in a family of three children, I could often be found sporting a Pebbles (of Pebbles and Bam Bam) shirt that read, "Anything boys can do, girls can do better." I believed this statement wholeheartedly as I tried to follow after my brothers on our bikes in the yard or attempted to block one of their shots on the basketball court.

As I grew older, I realized that being a control freak also made me a worrier -- negative in some ways, positive in others. Sure, worrying isn't a pleasant emotion, but I became very detail-oriented while striving for things like making the dean's list at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. However, in personal relationships, I was difficult to handle in my late teens and early 20s. I sometimes wonder how my now-husband ever dealt with my stubborn ways and went on to marry me anyway.

But alas, the tables have turned. Now I am a mother. A mother of two boys who have their own ideas on how things should be. And although I work to keep the order and remain in control, I realize this is often impossible. Not only do I deal with the demands of relentless children (in particular, my younger son, who seems to have inherited my temperament), but I also deal with the realities of letting go.

As the boys get older, they will enter school and participate in activities that I will not have direct control over. They will have relationships and friendships, as well as hopes and dreams, that I will not have direct control over. They will go through heartaches and disappointments that I will not have direct control over.

This is a difficult thing for a Type A personality such as myself to come to grip with. But, I'm working so that they know they are loved by parents who want nothing more for them than to be happy and to know that they were well-cared for in childhood by an involved father and an overly involved mother who had to learn to "let go and let God."

Chrissy Putt is a freelance writer from Indiana.

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