Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Makes Them Do These Things???

Helicopter Parent. Rocky was describing herself that way last night as she worried about her senior in college with a 3.8 GPA and no job prospects. She knows she's powerless. She knows it's his issue. She knows he's a grown-up and he has to take responsibility for his own future. She knows all this and yet she's panic stricken because his life is unsettled and insecure. She needs to fix it and she knows that she shouldn't and, worse than that, she knows that she can't. These thoughts co-exist uneasily.

Princess Myrtle is headed to Yemen for a month, after promising the only parent she was brave enough to tell that she wouldn't leave the capital city. Apparently, working during the day and taking Arabic at night while living in an apartment in Cairo wasn't enough of an immersion program. I've asked her to let me worry.

MTF's daughter's plan to visit 50 states and 50 countries by the time she's 50 has taken her to hotels where you wouldn't take off your shoes in Panama and in Syria and in India and she keeps threatening to go to Yemen and MTF told me this with a loving epithet that expresses the admiration mixed with terror that she feels.

Little kids.... little worries.... big kids..... big worries...... rather than look at it as minimizing the worry parents feel over will she ever walk and is he going to be in diapers forever how about the reality : those memories seem funny as you watch him back out of the driveway with his sister riding shotgun.

Rocky's moment of stunning clarity : It never ends, this parenting, does it? says it all. My favorite Cathy panel - it's framed and hanging in my closet - contains this essential truth: Mothers never sleep. We just worry with our eyes closed.

My helicopter is stored in the garage, underneath their framed finger-paintings and next to their baby clothes. Ready, at a moment's notice, to spring into action.


  1. I don't know how you found me, but thanks for posting my website on your blog. You may be interested in knowing that I just returned from China where I had been invited to exhibit these photographs of the roadside crosses that are currently on my website. Putting up these memorials is quite a foreign concept to the Chinese, so they were excited to experience them. I was awarded the 2009 Project Grant by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and with their help drove 18,000 miles last year photographing these little works of art. Again, thanks for the recognition. Susan Berger

  2. You're welcome, Susan. The photos are moving and exquisite.


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