My sister and I were talking about this the other day. My kids pack for themselves when we go away. This time around Noah forgot to bring a jacket. Erin forgot socks. Well, she remembered, but somehow they didn't quite make it into the suitcase. Same thing.
My sister was sure our parents never trusted us to pack. I don't honestly recall, but she may be right. Perhaps we did some of the work ourselves, but my mom probably went over everything to make sure we had done it properly. It's true that my mom and I differ in our Compulsivity Quotients, she down near the max end of the scale, me hanging out down just this side of obliviousness.
I help if my kids want help. This trip, being longer and different in character from our usual monthly Calgary trip, precipitated some questions and resulted in me producing a list of suggestions. Wedding clothes. A couple of short sleeved shirts, 2-3 long sleeved shirts. Undies for a few days. Socks. Swim suits. iPods. Math books. Games. Reading books. I think I forgot to put 'jackets' on the list, assuming that they were common sense. Some of my kids used the lists. Some didn't.
But I didn't check their packing. And so Erin has no socks and Noah froze in Jasper without a jacket. We have no conditioner and no nail file (things that seem to be fairly important to one of us), no sheet music for the J.C Bach viola concerto. Small omissions. We've made do.
I'd like to say that this is part of an over-riding parenting philosophy, that I am giving my kids experience and trust so that they can experience responsibility and make mistakes when the mistakes are small and easily dealt with. I'd like to argue that this sort of responsibility is good for children, that it gives them a sense of freedom and autonomy that help prevent adolescent rebellion and sneaky efforts to grab power from parents and exercise the self-determination they desperately want.
But while I might be able to make that case, I think I'm basically just too lazy. That I'm "just this side of obliviousness" may be closer to the truth.