Monday, November 13, 2006

A Mother's Worries

I sometimes wonder if I worry more about my children as adults than I did about them when they were toddlers. The difference is that back then I still had control over their lives, and now they are in control.

Last week my daughter called to discuss a medical procedure she was contemplating to deal with a real issue. Not knowing much about it, I contacted Velvet, who is my source of all knowledge of what’s happening with the younger generation. When even she was appalled at the idea, I got really worried. My daughter had not been calling to ask me to pay for it, just to see what I thought about the idea. So even if I think it sucks, she can opt to go ahead. I worry for her long-term health and safety.

My son, the law school grad who has now passed the Arizona bar and decided not to accept a fultime position at the firm he worked for while going to school, called to say he is moving to California. His lease is up at the end of this month, he has an aging car that is probably dying, he has a mountain of student loans, and he is talking about taking out a "bar loan" so he can study for the California bar. Any lawyer will tell you that this is the hardest bar exam in the country. This calls for big-time worry on my part! What will he do with an apartment full of furniture? Will the car break down on the trip? How will he find a place to live? What if he doesn’t like the strangers that become his roommates? What if his cell phone doesn’t work any more and I can’t even reach him? When will he find an acceptable paying job as a lawyer and start digging himself out of debt? He is not attempting to make this my problem either. He’s not asking for money because he understands the family bank is closed.

Neither one of my children has a significant other as far as I know. So we haven’t even seen the host of worries associated with falling into and out of love. But there is still plenty to worry about. I sometimes wonder if my parents ever worried like this about me. Probably so, but they were good at not letting on.


Blogger Jamy said...

I suppose it's not helpful to say "don't worry so much." It does make me wonder, as you did, if my parents worried about me the same way. Now, I bet they worry about me ever getting married and/or having kids, but they are not concerned on the health/wealth front.

From everything you've written, your kids are in good shape and will figure things out. They still rely on your advice, but don't expect you to fix things--that sounds just about perfect to me.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Jamy -- You are right. My kids will both be fine I'm sure. And if they are not, I will always be there for them -- ALWAYS. It's just so hard to want to exert control while backing off and saying "It's your life. I support your right to decide how to live it."

12:37 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

To tell someone not to worry is like telling the wind to stop blowing. I think, though, if that energy can be put to a different use, such as finding ways to help (research, offering to help pack, helping with contacts, lending an ear or a shoulder as needed, etc.) then you might worry less and your kids might get some still-needed parental support :)

All of my children are grown and on their own. They tell me the best thing I do for them is listen without judgement for when they're telling me of their problems, solutions they hadn't thought of before often to occur to them.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Velvet said...

My mom always said (and rightfully so) "You kids will never know what we go through until you have your own." Just knowing how I worry about Sammy and Thora is enough to make me want to tie my tubes, and they are dogs.

I can only hope you convinced your daughter to not do this procedure. She's too young for it! Tell her to rethink it at 40.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- Listening without judgment is oh-so-hard for me to do, but I will remember those words.

Velvet -- Sammy and Thora are treated a lot better than some children are. They might as well be human. I'm hoping that both of my children will have happy outcomes of their current dilemmas, but I still worry while I'm waiting to find out. Your mom was absolutely right!

8:48 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

It's just natural for a mom to worry. Nobody's mentioned if the dads worry! Does your husband share your concern?

Our parents worried too but in those days we didn't share as much with them as kids seem to today...and that's a good thing!

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Egad! I'm suprized I didn't turn my parents hair pre-maturely grey! I guess we would never accomplish anything if we thought the way we do now, when we were young. Sometimes I miss that "to hell with it and do it" attitude I had.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

No matter how old your kids get, they will always be your kids.

You can't stop worrying about them, you can't stop caring about them, but you have to let them live their own lives.

My kids are only 5 and 7 and I am definitely not looking forward to the day when they will leave. I will miss holding them in my arms, in reading to them. On the other hand, I also have to let them grow.

Sofia is much more paranoid about the kids than I am. I let them go to washrooms in restaurants by themselves (as long as the restaurant is reasonably empty). Sofia insists I go check on them 30 seconds after they have left the table. How much room and autonomy to give them and how much control to retain is a difficult balance.

7:29 PM  

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