Sunday, February 25

WORRY





Is there a magic cutoff period when offsprings become accountable for their own actions? Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, "It's their life," and feel nothing? When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my son's head. I asked, "When do you stop worrying?" The nurse said,"When they get out of the accident stage." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.


When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class,and was headed for a career making license plates. As if to read my mind , a teacher said, "Don't worry, they all go through this stage and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy them." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing. When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open. A friend said,"They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry, in a few years, you can stop worrying. They'll be adults." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.


By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it. My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing. I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments.


My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my mother's warm smile and her occasional, "You look pale. Are you all right? Call me the minute you get home. Are you depressed about something?"


Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?


One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me, "Where were you? I've been calling for 3 days, and no one answered. I was worried." I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed.

I didn't write this, although I easily could have. I know for a fact that parents never stop being concerned about their children.

18 comments:

Carmi said...

It may as well have been in your voice, Judy. Or mine. Or anyone close to me.

I think that worry starts from the instant you find out you're going to have a child. I remember that moment well: our world changed in that second. I know I've got gray hair from the experience, and it'll only get worse from here. But I wouldn't change a thing.

Life's a pretty lonely experience when you have no one to worry about. Or no one to worry over you.

Mr. Althouse said...

It's true for me and I suspect that I'll never stop worrying, although I can say that worry (about anything) doesn't dominate my life - or theirs. As much as I feel for them and live their trials and tribulations with them, I do not dictate them. I can't. Everyone has to walk their own path. It's just that with my kids, I can't help but try to point the way sometimes.

Nice post,

Michele sent me.

Mike

Gerbera Daisy said...

I don't think you ever stop worrying about your kids.

Merle said...

Hi Judy ~~ Great post and I have enjoyed catching up with your other
new posts, and re-reading your story of how you met your birth mother.We never stop worrying about our kids as I think that is part of our job. Mine range from 45 to 52, but they are always on my mind. I wish my youngest could meet her birth mother as she is the only one who wanted to, but was rejected again when she tried. Take care Judy,Love the new blog.Love, Merle.

michelle said...

i don't think you ever stop worrying about them and I love it. I love thinking about them all the time. I have a 7 yr old and a 2yr old and I work in Law Enforcement so my worry is tripled, but I am thankful everyday that I have been given these wonderful blessings and if I am "sentenced" to worry forever, then so be it...

Mr. Althouse said...

Hi Judy. Just one last visit before calling it a day. Have a great week,

mike

Mr. Althouse said...

Oh, and Michele sent me!

Marty: said...

I have 7 kids ages 25-36, all happily married, with very productive and busy lives. I actually worry that I won't know when to worry, so I won't be doing my part by worrying enough! Obviously I need a new hobby, so I've taken up blogging!
Love your site. Please visit mine!

claude said...

I remember distinctly how my mother worried about me, till she died...
And I worry about my daughter just the same, even knowing that worrying won't make things better. I think that when she was born, she forgot something inside me, and that is what is acting up ;)

Blitz Krieg said...

My mom still worries about me and I'm forty seven. I guess that means I have at least 30 more for the son and 36 for the daughter.

Ginnie said...

I like the tried and true Al-anon concept..."Detach with Love". My kids know that I love and care for them unconditionally but I can't live their lives for them...nor do they want me to. They come to me when in need and I do my best to help them then.

bornfool said...

My mom has said the same things to me, maybe not as eloquently. They are always your children, no matter the age.

I absolutley love the new digs, Judy. And by the way, thanks so much for continuing to stop by even though I've been such a poor blogger lately.

Beverly said...

That post is so true. I carry the weight of my children's worries on my shoulders as well, wishing that I could just fix what's wrong.

I am at the point in my life where they call to check up on me and tell me to be careful when I'm going out, and all that good stuff.

Bev said...

you NEVER stop worrying....you just worry about different stuff!

Found your blog from Marty's, nice thoughts!

I'll be back

Raggedy said...

I just loved the post!
That is excatly how it is.
Hugs

rdl said...

Love it!!

Lori said...

Hello Judy,

What a wonderful post. It’s funny, but sometimes I think I worry about my mother far more than she worries about me—a new development. I want her to go to the doctor to make sure her heart is OK, I want her stop smoking cigarettes, and I’d love to see her get on the treadmill every now and then. I guess this is just what happens in life; she took care of me, and one day, it will be my job to take care of her. She jokes that I’m the one who’ll be helping her to the bathroom in her old age because I was so much hard work as a kid!

It’s actually this very worry that fuels my blog posts. I write for Gilbert Guide on all topics relevant to seniors (and their boomer children who takes care of them). My grandmother who’s close to 80 is actually one of the most active people I know, and I can only hope my mother (and eventually, I) follows in her footsteps. It’s not just about them taking care of themselves physically; I just plain want them to be happy—to live life fully, to not one day be encumbered by physical weakness or deterioration and to never feel isolated or afraid. I’m not a mother yet, but I imagine this feeling will be even greater when one day I become one.

I look forward to following your blogs! Thanks for the wonderful post.

Lori
www.GilbertGuide.com

kenju said...

Lori, thanks for the visit and comments. I hope you'll return; although I don't write about senior issues often, I can sure point you to those who do.