Tuesday, May 4, 2010


When do we stop worrying about our children?

A guy I work with asked me today about separation anxiety.  He asked me when does it go away?  He has a 22 month old son, and lately the little fella has been having a hard time of it when saying goodbye to daddy in the morning.  I looked at him, and very seriously answered, "Never."

From the time we find out we're pregnant, we worry.  Are we eating right?  Are we eating too much?  Are we sleeping enough?  Should we get tested while pregnant?  Natural childbirth?  Drugs?  All of a sudden, our days of narcissism and freedom are over.  Overnight, we start stressing about these little beings.  And, we have absolutely no idea what we are getting into.

And then they are born.  We fall in love at first sight.  And the worry is magnified by a million.

We worry, are they eating enough?  Are they growing enough?  What percentile is their head size?  Can they crawl?  Can they walk?  Bottle or Breast?  Is my baby normal?  Is their poop normal?  Their cries break our hearts.  Their cries drive us to such despair; of the likes we never could imagine.  We give up sleep, social lives, jobs, and bodies for these creatures.  Our relationships with everyone changes.  Instantly, we become moms. These little things are dependent on us for everything.  And we have no idea what we're doing.

Then they start growing.  They go to the first day of school.  New worries begin.  Is their teacher kind?  Are they reading?  Are they making friends?  What about all this I hear about bullying in school?  Is the bus safe?  Do they eat at lunch?  Reports. Homework.  Projects.  Worry Worry Worry.  Am I doing this right?

Then the teen years.  Relationships.  Heartache.  Peer Pressure.  Fights.  Proms.  Clubs?  No clubs.  SAT.  Tears.  Hormones.  More tears.  Drinking  Drugs.  Driving.  Graduation.  Now what?  Letting them grow.  Letting them go.

So, I sit here with two children in college.  One graduates this Saturday.  Next in line for them will be adulthood, and I will still worry.  I will worry if they are happy, healthy and well adjusted.  How much did I screw them up?  Did they find their soulmate?  Did they find their dream job?  How often will I see them?  Did I teach them how to think, feel and be a good person?  Did I tell them I loved them enough?

Because you see, we, as mothers,  are never really separated.  The anxiety we have if part of being a mother.  It's never ending.  Oh, we love our spouses, our friends, our boyfriends, our animals.  But that love we have as a mother is on a different plane altogether. 

And, as much as the worry stresses me, breaks my heart, and ages me, I wouldn't have it any other way.  The absolute best Mother's Day gift for me, each and every year, is my two kids.  Jake, Taylor, I love you both so very very much.   xxx

(picture by Steven)


Robin said...

Aw, what a sweet post. I am sadly (though I've dealt with it, I guess!) a barren mare, out here in the north 40, childless. So, most of those feelings are directed toward my cat and dog - though I'm not as concerned about head size. Tee hee. And, why, yes! I feel VERY enzymatic! Thanks for askin'! ;)

Jan, David, Rose and Grace said...

So beautifully written, Judi. I loved this post.

SPT said...

Interesting.... my kids are still in the stage where I think of them as the ones with separation anxiety. I guess they have it for a short time but we have it forever.

Of all of the photos of Steven's that I've seen, the kartwheeling girls is my favorite. What's the story?

angie128 said...


KarenSue said...

Whew! You said it all. I just seems to go on forever.
Great post.

sherri s. said...

First of all, how gorgeous are your children? So cute! And that last photo is a knockout, BTW. Such a nice post...not having kids, I can't say I can relate, but it's interesting to reflect on the relationship going the other way, adult child to parent. Child/parent love is just a love that swells up in your throat sometimes, isn't it?