“Are you sure you don’t want to take more long-sleeved sweaters and fewer short-sleeved shirts?” I ask my daughter as she packs up her belongings for a study abroad in Greece. “I’ll be fine, Mom,” my daughter says without hesitation. I worry because I read that it can occasionally snow in Greece during the winter and my darling daughter is packing as if she were going to Hawaii.
If there were a job description for being a mom, I’m sure worrying would be right up there with nourishing. Being a mom is by far the most difficult job I’ve ever had and the white hairs on my head are proof. Using Sharpie pens to disguise those hairs has become too time consuming and, anyways, my triceps muscles are too weak to hold my arms above my head for extended periods of time. My parents have always said that no matter how old my siblings and I become, they still worry about us. Don’t get me wrong, none of us are hellions, but how well children are prepared to weather life’s up and downs are all causes of concern to parents.
Unfortunately children do not come with instruction manuals, so when mine were babies I would fret over whether they were getting enough to eat, whether sending them to daycare was the right choice, and whether they were developing normally. The latter was needless worrying since, thankfully, none of my children are normal. They are all extraordinary!
As they grew up and went to elementary school, I worried about constant colds, ear infections, and major childhood diseases. But also on my “worry meter” was their fine and gross motor skill development. Could they skip? That was always the test to see if they could progress on to first grade. When would they learn to read? Would they learn to say their “R’s” the normal way so that car did not sound like “caw?” These worries dissolved away as each concern was resolved.
When they approached junior high school, I stressed over eating habits, study habits, hygiene routines, and their burgeoning sport and social schedules. High school offered little relief for me as sports and social activities, driving lessons, high academic standards, and college applications all warred against each other. But alas, all that high school worrying was for naught; they all got into good colleges. Then the college years came and brought worries about drinking, driving, drugs, and roommates! After almost ten years I can see light at the end of the college-years tunnel.
You get the picture. My worrying can take a siesta now. All seems calm . . . but wait . . . will number one graduate and get a good job? Will number two continue to manage his health issues adequately? And will number three be alright in Greece? I don’t have a crystal ball that can predict the future, but I do know that I’ve tried to be the best mom I could possibly be and I must now rely on my children to remember all that I’ve instilled in them and to make the right choices. Hmm, I just noticed that it is 37 degrees in Athens right now. So why am I worried?