A long time ago when I was certain I knew everything and could take care of myself I remember telling my mother not to worry about me. I said it during one of our conversations after I had been out too late and she had stayed up waiting for me to come home, which she always did. I was insulted as a teenager who could drive himself anywhere that my mom didn’t trust me enough to just chill-out and let me live my life.
Fast forward- REALLY FORWARD- 35 years… I was having a philosophical conversation with someone recently when I paraphrased the old quote, “The older I get the less I know”. I can rarely remember exact quotes and take delight in misquoting them. My favorite…. instead of, “The shoe’s on the other foot” I like to say, “The foot’s on the other leg.” As I was pondering a mother’s wisdom that quote came back at me like a boomerang. Now at the ripe old age of 53, much older than my mom when I told her to stop worrying, I’m beginning to understand her through my own life and wife’s experiences.
What kind of patience, love and understanding does it take to nurture a child into a teenager and groom that young person to think for himself, make decisions for himself, fail by himself and then hopefully prevail?
Who has the strength and perseverance to stand by a selfish and immature child who disregards good advice and instead stomps around like an insolent know-it-all desperate to break the chains of parental dependence?
A Mother, that’s who.
Being a mom must be one of life’s greatest roles. But just as I will never know the inner joy of physically giving life from my own body, I can also never comprehend the lifetime of worry that comes along with it.
It’s a good thing women are multi-taskers because there’s no escaping the continuous concern and reassessing that comes along with caring for a child. Oh sure, guys worry too; I worry plenty. But when I’m in the middle of the back nine with a friend and it starts raining I’m not wondering if the kids are safe at home; Christine is though. In fact she’s looking so far into the future considering the implications of so many things it makes my head spin.
I try not to tell Joey and Jude’s mother to stop worrying. I don’t presume to know better now because I don’t know… and that’s worrisome!
Maybe that’s why a mother’s wisdom and worry go hand in hand.
Here’s to cutting our moms a little slack- okay a lot of slack.
Christine- I think you’re an amazing mom! You’re the kind of wife and mother I always hoped for, and I’ll try to pay more attention to the things you worry about.
Mom, I love you and hope you’re not still worried about me, but even if you are I think I understand a little better now. I know three boys wasn’t easy on a beauty queen but we’ve always thought you’re amazing!