Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Weight of the World

I've always had the philosophy that having a child is like having a small weight put on your shoulder. At different times during your life and theirs, the weight feels heavier or lighter. When they didn't sleep as infants, the weight felt crushing. Then they smiled at you and it's light as a feather. Trying to figure out their likes and dislikes - heavy. Watching them walk for the first time - light. Juggling daycare and work - very heavy. Hearing their first word - light. It goes on an on and even though my kids are older and less dependent upon me, it's amazing that the weight is still there - even when they are not.

When my kids were infants, people used to tell me "Little kids, little problems - big kids, big problems." Secretly, I used to think: "Yeah, well my kids won't be druggies like yours." (Spiteful, smug and mean person that I am.) And they're not, but the weight is still there. I lose sleep over the silliest things. It's as if I'm running their lives and mine and I need to stay on duty through the night in case something comes up. Or that I need to worry everything through and through so that nothing unexpectedly horrible can happen.

In our household we're approaching two big milestones - college and female teenagehood. I think both will be equally challenging - for me. I have visions of me laying in bed wide awake while my collegiate son is snoozing away on some lovely campus. And my daughter has reached an age where she doesn't want to tell me anything anymore - so I fear the unknown. Meanwhile she's happily IMing her friends.

You see, that's the irony of it all. They're the ones living and I'm the one worrying. I guess I need to chill a bit and let them deal with it just like I did.

There's a line in "Tuck Everlasting" that says something like "Don't fear losing your life. Fear the life unlived." I guess it's time for me to get to sleep and let my kids live their lives.


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