There’s always something to worry about as a parent. It begins the
moment we discover we’re pregnant. We start worrying about everything we put
into our bodies and how it will affect our unborn children. From that point on,
every developmental stage of childhood comes with a worry (or two, or three.)
Crib death looms in infancy. Drowning hovers over toddlerhood. Abduction fears
mark the school-age years. The teens usher in fears of drugs, drinking and
driving. Having children makes the world more joy-filled and more fear-filled
at the same time.
But it doesn’t end there. I wish I could tell you that once they’re out
of the house, college graduates, young adults with stable jobs and apartments
of their own, that everything’s fine and the worrying can end. It doesn’t. My
oldest just announced he’s taking up hang-gliding. See? It’s always something.
Just this morning as I cleaned lint from my clothes-dryer I wondered if I had
taught my boys to do this. And there it is: another worry. Dryer fires.
Nine years ago, my youngest son, then a teenager, was hit by a drunk
hit-and-run driver while walking his girlfriend home after a study date. She
did not survive her injuries. He carries his with him to this day in the form
of a traumatic brain injury. We helped our son during those early days in
intensive care, then through months of physical therapy. He took
anti-depressants for years and sees a therapist still. He worked hard at his recovery
and made impressive gains. He is currently in a graduate program for math
education in a nearby state.
But there’s always something to worry about. My husband and I mine our
conversations with our son for signs of depression or anxiety, residuals from
the accident. He recently told me that he went to the school’s Disabilities
Office seeking extra test-taking time and a distraction-free testing
environment. I immediately worried that he was overwhelmed and struggling. But
he assured me he was just trying to utilize available services and avoid a
stressful end to the semester.
And what more can a parent ask for? Seeing our children independent,
following their dreams, seeking the help they need to get there. It’s what
we’ve prepared them for since the day they were born. I guess I just thought
the days of worrying would someday come to an end. But as far as I can see,
worrying and parenting go hand-in-hand. Forever.