Saturday, February 23, 2013

I wonder when I'll stop worrying.

I have two babies.  Well, they aren't exactly babies anymore; my oldest is 10 years old and my youngest is 7, but their ages don't really matter.  No matter how many birthdays they celebrate, they will always and forever be my babies.  Even when Little Mama is 87 and I'm a ripe 111 years young, I'll still refer to her as my baby. 

Even before they made their grand entrances into the world, I worried about them.  When I was pregnant, I worried constantly.  Were they kicking enough?  Was I drinking too much coffee?  Would their 20 week ultrasounds show that their hearts, kidneys, brains were all healthy? 

Moments after delivery I worried about their vitals - heartrate, bilirubin tests, their first poop.

As infants, I worried that they weren't latching on.  I worried if they slept too little or too much.

At 1 year, I worried that they weren't walking in time.

At 2 years, I was beside myself because Baby Angel rarely spoke a word.

At 3 years, I worried about Baby Angel hitting the other kids at preschool.  I worried so, so much as she was put to sleep for her first surgery to repair a broken finger.

At 4 years, I worried when two little girls at pre-K said mean, nasty, snubby words to Little Mama.  I worried that we would never rid our house of lice when Little Mama experienced it twice in a matter of 3 months.

At 5 years, I worried about Little Mama taking the big kid bus to kindergarten.  I worried about who her classmates were and what they were exposing her to.  I had my first talk with a principal that year.

At 6 years, I worried about Baby Angel fitting into her new school.  I worried when the pediatrician told us that Little Mama was overweight.

At 7 years, I worry about Baby Angel and her attitude.  I worry that others will think she's a brat or a snot or annoying.  I worry they won't see the precious, loving, vivacious, eccentric child that I see.

At 8 years, I worried about Little Mama being successful academically as she was failing her reading class.

At 9 years, I worried about Little Mama choosing friends who maybe weren't the best ones for her.

At 10 years, I worry about Little Mama and her success in extracurriculars - basketball, softball, soccer, Girl Scouts.

This, dear friends, as any mom can attest to, is just the tip of The Worry Iceburg.  It's a constant worry about this or that - anything really having to do with my precious babies.  "Did they remember their lunches?"  "How did Little Mama do on that math test?"  "I wonder if Baby Angel remembered to spell 'especially' with two 'ls'."  "Man, I hope Little Mama hits her free throws today."

I remember being so certain that when they grew out of this stage or that stage I would stop worrying.  What I've grown to realize, however, is that the worry simply transforms.  It's still worry, it just looks a little different.

So while I'm not worrying about whether Baby Angel is following directions at preschool, I'm worrying about her self-esteem and self-image.  I'm not worrying about Little Mama riding her bike around the block, but I am worrying about her learning how to juggle school, church, and sports. 

When they were younger, I had hoped that parenting would get easier.  What I'm finding, however, is the exact opposite.  As the years pass, the parenting gets tougher.  I look ahead to the future and see the worries to come -- At 16 years, I'll worry about them driving in a car.  At 17 years, I'll worry about who they choose to date and exactly what they'll do when they are alone on that date.  At 18 years, I'll worry about them succeeding on their SATs and getting into their #1 college.

Lord, help me.

No one ever said parenting was easy, but it's certainly more challenging than I ever thought possible.  Yes, this parenting gig is tough, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

1 comment:

Wicked M said...

My mom always used to say that the worry never ends, but that it changes. How reassuring!

I loved this post mostly because it is just how I feel every day. The worry never stops. It has certainly given me some new perspective on my parents!