Believe me, I know all the scriptures about having faith and trust and not worrying.
But then I’m a mother, and worrying about your children comes with the territory. If the word “worrying” makes me sound faithless, think of it as caring. I care about them . . . what they are doing, how they are doing it, how safely they are doing it, how carefully they are doing whatever they are doing, and especially now that grandchildren are in the picture how those precious people are doing.
I have tried to keep from the fact that I worry a lot about them. (I slipped again into the “worry” word, but it is what it is.)
And I apparently have done a good job at hiding the fact that I worry about them all the time. Maybe it’s just the sons that are clueless, though; the daughters are mothers after all.
I’m a mother. I worry. I do it quite well. It never ends.
But a conversation with a son a while back made me wonder if they don’t realize how much I do worry about that. And after all, isn’t that the barometer of my love for them? Do they really want me to not worry about them? Not care about them? Hah. I doubt that.
Even if they say they do, that would put them into a foreign existence they wouldn’t even know how to handle. My caring worry has been a constant in their lives . . . or so I thought. Now I’m not so sure they’re aware of it.
I was telling my son that his brother had gotten a job. The brother with a new job had been unemployed since last May when he had graduated from law school and passed the bar the first time around. Law jobs are hard to find anymore in this difficult economic climate, even harder in the state where he lives. Four hundred lawyers, also unemployed, applied for one job he wanted a few months back.
But he finally got one-a temporary one with the state legislature, but a good job nevertheless.
The other son said, “Now you have nothing to worry about with your kids!”
Granted, this son has always been a cheery, optimistic kind of fellow. He didn’t get those genes from me.
I responded, “Sure.” As if.
No worries here
After all, what else do I need to worry about? Well, two kids live in a plains state where tornadoes hit, and it’s tornado season again. Only one of them has a tornado shelter, and even then, I’m not so sure the top to that won’t get stuck and trap them underground in the garage with the house fallen down on top of them. I’m going to have to see a tornado on the next street to go down those stairs. They’re expecting twins in May-that’s a whole new set of worries. Times two.
The other kid in a plains state just has a broom closet to hide in, and there’s no way they’ll all fit in that. Of course, they have a half wall on the second floor I worry about in the middle of the night that the kids will climb over and fall off of. Their state has elevated highways too. I hate elevated highways. Don’t cars fall off of them?
Then there’s Utah. One morning during the winter, Utah was in the news twice in one day-once for toxic air quality and once for blizzard conditions. My grandkids were at the bus stop- because school is never called off- freezing and breathing toxic air. Then my daughter-in-law posted pictures on Facebook of my son building a mountain of snow in their backyard. He was not wearing a hat or gloves-frostbite in the making! A punch in my gut right there.
Have you ever seen the traffic in Chicago? I have. That’s where one kid is. The wonderful thing too is that there are flashing lights everywhere proclaiming how many people have died in traffic deaths so far in the year. I was there in November, and it was almost 900. Or was that the murder count? I can’t remember.
A stepson lives outside Boston. Boston. That had its own worries this past week. Plus Boston is always on the Weather Channel. Do they have food in the house for all the nor’easters? Batteries for their flashlights? Generators? Water? Plus, this past week Chicago had floods. All I could picture was my granddaughters bobbing up and down in a river rushing along their street.
An endless list
The list goes on: There was a high-speed chase in one neighborhood with a felon on the loose overnight. It takes 45 minutes for the rescue squad to get to one home. A son-in-law has an elevated triglyceride count. The baby has a cold and milk allergy. The four-year-old has a 103 fever. Child safety locks are broken. Two of my kids were in a tornado two years ago. Is everyone really wearing their seatbelts all the time? The toddler likes to lick everything.
One mother posted a picture of a granddaughter with blue all over her face and said she had either found a blue marker or eaten a Smurf. Do we really know that Smurfs aren’t poisonous?
What if they travel to Russia and a meteorite hits them? My son lives not far from Provo Canyon where Big Foot was sighted a few weeks ago. My daughter lives near Fort Bragg where helicopters fly overhead, dangling paratroopers. What if one of them falls down and lands on one of the kids?
<p style="margin-bottom: 0.
0001pt; line-height: normal;”>Earthquakes, melting ice caps, blizzards, tornadoes, ice storms, massive traffic jams, gas leaks, giant sinkholes . . . There are just so many things that a mother and a grandmother can worry about.
Really, one son getting a job doesn’t put a dent in the whole long list, especially when he calls and has severe strep throat and the doctor refuses to give him pain medicine. This is what a mother goes through.
Never too old
One son was leaving at Christmastime for a long road trip back home with his wife and two little children. As he got into the car, I said, “Did you pray?”
In the tone of voice that recently grown children use for mothers who worry, he said quasi-patiently, “We’re old enough to remember to pray.”
I looked at him, wanting to grab into a hug like I could do when he was three and squeeze tight and say, “You will never be too old for me to remind you to pray. For me to pray for you. For me to worry about you. For me to think about you. Every breath I take is a prayer for the safety and health, both spiritually and physically, of my children and grandchildren. And someday you will ask the same thing of those little children in the car, and they will say the same thing to you in the same tone of voice.”
But I didn’t. I turned and walked into the house-and worried until I knew they were home safely.
You know, I think there is something a mother like me who worries all the time about her children can do. I’ll plan a warm, worry-free vacation for us all.
We’ll all go on a nice cruise!
Susan writes a weekly humor column for the Danville (Virginia) Register & Bee where parts of this column once appeared. Others of her 7XMOM columns can be found by doing a site search on www.godanriver.com. Her novel “Miracle of the Christmas Star” may be ordered at www.mormonbooksandauthors.com