Sunday, November 1, 2009

Worrying-from-a-distance stage

This morning I was talking to my good friend Mary, whose son Ben was my son's best friend in school— now studying to be a neurosurgeon. We were talking about how much we still worry about our children. She told me that when she read about the suicides in Silicone Valley, of the four teenagers who walked onto the RR tracks, she wondered what her son would do. Would he follow his friends if he were feeling pressure from his medical studies? I reminded her that she worried like that in sixth grade when he was 12-yrs-old; he's almost 23 now, no longer a follower. That calmed her somewhat.

Then I told her how I worried, how the worry moved around from one thing to another, like a pain that starts in your knee, moves down to your ankle, then to the bottom of your foot. If it isn't one thing, it's another. Sometimes I think I'm a curse, like the time I took my son to get his driver's license; he failed three times, but when my husband took him on the fourth try, he passed. She said that was merely a case of redundancy, that once the test clicked in, he got it—no curse. She told me I worried like that when he was in kindergarten, afraid he couldn't make it on the playground. That made me feel a little better. I think if I worry I can control things so nothing bad will happen, but, of course, that bad thing is called "life" and no matter how much I worry, I can't protect my children from getting hurt. Mary and I call this the "worrying-from-a-distance stage," the stage we find ourselves in now.


  1. I'm still in the up-close-and-personal stage of worrying. You and Mary are practitioners of Advanced Worrying, one aubspecialty of which is worrying-from-a-distance. My father's been an Advanced Worrier for almost six decades, both from-a-distance and up-close-and-personal - sometimes at the same time. He's 86, so he's pretty good at it. Something to look forward to.

  2. Your dad's an inspiration, truly. this reminds me of a food or eye chart with Advanced Worrier at the top of the pyramid, and the lighter stuff at the bottom and all the stages in between, each with their own color and value. maybe we should make this chart...