Is there an imaginary cutoff period when

offspring become accountable

for their own actions?

Is there some 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 daughter's head and I asked,

'When do you stop worrying?'

The nurse said,

'When they get out of the accident stage..'

My Parents 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 Parents 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, they'll be adults.

'They'll be off on their own

they'll be out of your hair'

My Parents 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..

Even though they were on their own

I continued to anguish over their failures,

be tormented by their frustrations and

absorbed in their disappointments..

and there was nothing I could do about it.

My Parents just smiled faintly

and said nothing.

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 parent's warm smiles

and their occasional,

'You look pale. Are you all right' ?

'Call me the minute you get home'.

Are you depressed about something?'

My friends said that

when I became a grandparent

that I would get to enjoy

the happy little voices yelling

Grandma! Papa!

But now I find that I worry

just as much about the little kids

as the big ones.

How can anyone cope

with all this Worry?

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 unknown?

Is concern a curse or is it

a virtue that elevates us

to the highest form of earthly creation?

Recently, one of my own children

became quite irritable, 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.

-Author Unknown-




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