What, me worry?

This is a post i wrote as a guest blogger when the OC Register had their Mom Blog up and running a couple years ago. The Mom Blog has moved on, so I thought I would share this with you here. The feelings are still the same!

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I’ve been a mom now for just over two years, and I was starting to feel a bit more confident in my abilities. Until last week that is, when my daughter slammed a door on her foot resulting in an injury that looked a lot more serious than it really was. But, I didn’t know it at that moment.

At that moment, all I wanted to do was hold her and cry with her and make her feel better and not let her know how scared for her I was. Then I got a grip on myself and told her everything was going to be just fine. I stayed strong through the ER visit and the follow up at the doctor’s office the next day, even though on the inside I was crying. I worried she would be traumatized by the whole experience.

Moms in the 21st century really have a lot of worries to consider. Not that I lay awake at night thinking about these things (yet), but I am concerned that one day due to my own ignorance, I will allow my daughter to go to school wearing gang insignia; the school will be shot up while she’s in class; or heaven forbid, she will carry some ibuprofen in her handbag. Will someone snatch her as she skips down the street to visit a friend? Will I be able to handle it if something really bad happens to her?

My parents worried, of course, but there’s a significant generation gap between the things I worry about and the things that kept my mother awake at night. I asked my Mom about her worries while we were growing up in Orange County during the 70s and 80s. She told me she worried about smoking, drinking, our friends leading us astray, teachers influencing us in a way that was not consistent with my parents’ values, a little about drugs, and a lot about education.

Yet, we were still allowed to walk to school, bike to our friends’ houses,  and be unsupervised all summer long. My grandparents had even less to worry about comparatively. My Gram worried about my mother crossing the major street that was the boundary of where she was allowed to go (and doled out a serious reprimand when it was discovered that she had), finances, education, religious upbringing, good food on the table, and taking care of their elders. A lot has changed in 70 short years.

But bridging the generation gaps are the little things that just don’t change. They are consistent from mother to mother, generation to generation. We count our babies’ fingers and toes the day they are born and see the future in their eyes. We beseech whatever higher power we believe in for their health and happiness. We hide our fears and tears as best we can in the effort to provide a stable home. We help them with their homework, and in making the tough decisions about which birthday party to attend and how to gently give their regrets to the friend whose party they won’t be attending. We take care of scraped elbows and knees and hearts, and with tears in our eyes we might send them off to college or the military to become the men and women we hoped for on the day we counted their fingers and toes for the first time. Parents, especially moms, will always worry, and my Mom assures me the worry doesn’t end when your children are 21 or 30 or 50, married or single, living right next door or across the globe.

Maybe in the future, I will jump up a little faster when my daughter is playing with a door, or I’ll find a better way to divert her tears as she cries after falling from her bike. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, but I will feel confident in knowing I’m not the first mom to face that dilemma, and that moms throughout history have felt the same.

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