Friday, June 10, 2011


Is there an imaginary cutoff period when offspring
become accountable for their own actions?

Is there some wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their
children and shrug, 'It's their life,' and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital
corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches
in my son's head and I asked, 'When do you stop worrying?'

The nurse said, 'When they get out of the accident
stage .... '
My Parents just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children
talked incessantly, disrupted the class, and was
headed for a career making license plates.
As if to read my mind, a teacher said, 'Don't worry,
they all go through this stage and then you can sit
back, relax and enjoy them.'
My Parents just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for
the phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front
door to open.

A friend said, 'They're trying to find themselves.
'Don't worry! In a few years, they'll be adults. 'They'll
be off on their own. They'll be out of your hair.'
My Parents just smiled faintly and said nothing.

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, however, there was a new wrinkle .... Even though
they were on their own I continued to anguish over
their failures, be tormented by their frustrations
and absorbed in their disappointments ... yet there
was nothing I could do about it.

My Parents just smiled faintly and said nothing.

My friends said that when my kids were married I could stop worrying and lead my own life.

I wanted to believe that, however I was haunted by my
parent's warm smiles and their occasional, "You look
pale. Are you all right?" "Call me the minute you get home." "Are you depressed about something?"

My friends said that When I became a grandparent
that I would get to enjoy the happy little voices
yelling "Grandma! Papa!" However now I find that
I worry just as much about the little ones as I do
about the big ones.

How can anyone cope with all this worry?

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of

Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of
the unknown?
Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of earthly creation?

Recently, one of my own children became quite irritable,
saying to me, "Where were you? I've been calling for 3 days, and no one answered, I was worried."

I smiled a warm smile.

The torch has been passed.
SHARE THIS WITH OTHER WONDERFUL PARENTS (And also with your children ... that's the fun part.)

E-mail finds from Pauline from Paulinesfashions.


Three Wishes Collective said...

absolutely perfect! I still call my mom whenever I get somewhere to say that I arrived safely. If one of my kids call while I'm taking a nap they call the other one, and then they call my mom to find out if anyone knows where I am, what I'm doing, etc.; and of course, I worry about all of them.

I went to a presentation by a group of Tibetan Monks and one said, 'don't worry. if you're worried about something that you can do something about, then take action. if you're worried about something you can do nothing about, then worrying will not produce different results, so save the stress on your body, and don't worry.' (greatly paraphrased, of course.)

Giupetto and Gianna Tails said...

Pauline, This was just a wonderful post. Would you give any of it up not to worry? I think not. We care deeply, so we worry deeply. Funny about how the torch has been passed.
Shari, even though I was married and living some where else, my Mom was the first one I called to tell her I arrived safe.
This is what Mom's were made for. :-)

SocksAndMittens said...

Very wise great post. Thank you so much for sharing!