Monday, March 9, 2015

Old Habits

Yesterday morning, Susan, my twenty-two year old daughter, let me know she was going rock hunting with a guy she met in one of her classes. She got ready while I went outside to putter in the garden, which, as always, allows my mind to wander and form all kinds of scenarios, both triumphant and tragic. 

Reminders of a recently publicized local domestic abuse case darkened my mood so when Susan yelled, "I'm leaving..." I dropped my trowel and ran in from the backyard. 

"How well do you know this guy?" 

Already familiar with where this line of questioning was leading, she offered her usual platitudes. "He's fine mom. I've never gotten any weird vibes off him." 

"Well, where are you going?" 

She offered semi-detailed instructions but I went deaf after visualizing her in the country with a guy she barely knew. 
"... I've got my pepper spray." 

"Just be careful and call me if you need to." 

And off she went. 

I returned to my gardening, praying for her safety, my only and admittedly best recourse. 

A few hours later the doorbell rang. Between the time I dropped my pruners, quickly brushed the dirt off my hands and walked to the house, my mind had worked out its anxiety-plagued scenario. It was the police. They were here to inform me that my daughter was... 

I looked out the window. No police car. Just someone selling Girl Scout cookies. 

Susan got home around 7 PM. She showed Steve and I her rocks and driftwood which we would use to embellish the garden. She had fun.

I doubt that I'll ever stop worrying about my kids. While their daily comings and goings are done in relative safety, there's always that possibility that something will go wrong--there will be a crash, an accident, a wrongdoing. That's just part of life. Fortunately as adults they can think and reason, using the gift of innate caution I've always encouraged them to heed. I could be a smother-mother-control-freak, which would undoubtedly push them away. Or I can pray, trust God to look after them when I can't. I continue to choose the latter. 


  1. Hi Grace,
    Yes, my mind can wander into scenarios like that, too, and yes, we need to remember to pray, even for our adult children and their safety.

  2. Great post Grace! It is so easy for us to imagine the not so good scenarios, which does us not good at all. Praying and leaving 'everything' in God's care is the way to go.

    Love & hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

  3. Oh my gosh, my brain does that to me all the time.
    I worked with a guy, prior to having kids, whose son had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at the age of three or four. It was heartbreaking, but now I realize, three kids later, that I didn't truly understand the magnitude of what he and his wife had been dealt. I'll never forget, I was sitting at his desk one day chatting, pregnant for the first time, and he said his mom had told him that you don't know fear until you have kids. Ain't it the truth.

  4. I had girlfriend who had gone through a very tough patch and had to be hospitalized for a breakdown. When she told the doctor all the things on her mind, he said, "Oh you don't need to worry about your children, they're grown." 21 & 23. I told my mother and she said, "That man has obviously never been a mother, you simply never stop worrying no matter how old they are." So glad that she and her friend had a good time! Please send any and all warm weather to your good buddies in Ontario!

  5. There was a terrific article in Friday's New York Times that speaks right to your story. It was written by a gentleman who moved to a suburb outside of Minneapolis (I think) from Berlin. He writes that his neighbors think it is practically "a crime" to let teenage kids walk a few blocks home from the part for example. He was dismayed at the American culture that had become so fearful and terrified of everything. Certainly there are dangers, but helicopter parenting isn't the answer, I don't believe. I went everywhere as a kid. (I was, however, in the company of my 165 pound Great Dane!) -:)


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