‘You never stop worrying,’ my Mum said to me once. I think I just sighed at her and thought privately that she was being mildly ridiculous. I’m an adult. I have lived a happy and successful life for nearly fifty years and have never given her cause to worry about anything. Well, that’s what I thought anyway. But now I understand.
I really wasn’t a worrier until I had my kids. I breezed through life. To every problem a solution and if the solution wasn’t immediately obvious, I was always pretty confident that it would show up soon.
Things are a bit different now. I have evolved into a worrier – at least as far as my children are concerned. I worry about their health. I worry about their exams. I worry that they aren’t getting the right kind of food, that their teeth will rot and that they’ll get sunburn. I worry about their friendship groups and that they’ll fall in with the wrong crowd. I worry that they do too much or too little. I worry about their screen time, their homework, that they’ve never been to Wales.
The trouble is, I just want their lives to be charmed. I want things to come to them easily so that they never stop smiling. I want to absorb their problems like blotting paper on ink so that they can continue in life without missing a step. I want to protect them from anything that might do them harm. Of course I do. I’m their mother.
But this is where it gets tricky isn’t it? Because it’s only by taking the knocks and having things not go to plan that they will develop the resilience that they need to see them through the hard times. They have to make mistakes so that they can learn by them and grow. They need things to be tough sometimes so that they can empathise with those who are following a bumpier path. I will do them no favours by cushioning them from life’s sharp edges.
I know this. And so, as I have to let them wander into the lion’s den with barely a shield to protect them, I worry. I’m sure I have more grey hairs and wrinkles by the day as my mind contorts itself around the endless connotations of any one situation. In fact, dear reader, I have become like my mother….