I’ve always been a worrier. A trait I’m not particularly proud of, but mine none the less. For example, if I have a tingle in my left arm – I google up “stroke symptoms.” If my daughter complains of an itchy scalp – I assume there must have been a lice outbreak at school – in the locker next to hers. When my parents report that the surf was rough on the beach – I suspect a Tsunami must be on the way. I once spent an entire school year obsessing about how I was going acquire medical supplies for my family when we all undoubtedly would contract Bird Flu.
This evening, my children asked me what I think is the hardest part about being a mom. Before I could speak, my son offered, “I bet I know what it is… having to buy all the groceries and then we eat it all up before you can cook it – is that it?” Then my daughter added, “No… I bet it’s when she does all of our laundry and we just keep gettin’ dirty.” I smiled and assured them that, yes, those chores can be frustrating, but they aren’t hard – and I expect them to eat and get dirty on a daily basis.
I was about to delicately tell them about how I worry about them, and how I don’t look forward to them growing up and leaving to live their own lives. I wanted to frame it in a healthy way and not break down into a menopausal mess in front of them. Before I could get that out, my daughter raised her voice and announced, “I’ve got it! She’s afraid that when she’s not around we might smoke cigarettes and drink alka-law – whatever that is… anyway, I don’t know why she worries about that because I don’t even like chicken, so I have no idea why she thinks I’m going to stick yucky stuff in my mouth!” And then the next bomb dropped. My son retorted, “No she only worries about weird stuff like birds getting sick and stuff.”
I think the real question is: What’s the hardest part about being raised by a kooky mom? And great – now I gotta add alka-law and cigarettes to the list.