Is there a magic cutoff period when offspring become accountable for their own actions? Is there a 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. I asked, 'When do you stop worrying?' The nurse said, 'When they get out of the accident stage.' My Daddy 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 Daddy 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, you can stop worrying. They'll be adults.' My Daddy 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, but there was a new wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it. My Daddy just smiled faintly and said nothing. I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments.
My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my Daddy's warm smile and his occasional, 'You look pale. Are you a all right? Call me the minute you get home. Are you depressed about something?'
Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the FAMILY? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?
One of my children became quite irritable recently, 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. PASS IT ON TO OTHER WONDERFUL PARENTS
Thanks Ellen S.