I was up again last night at 1:53 am checking to see if my daughter had sent me a text message. She was pretty stressed out and I was hoping to find out if she was able to head back to her apartment rather than spend the night at art school. She was struggling with one of her projects – she’s in a glass blowing class and every time she kept trying to finish, it broke – over and over again. Each time that happened, she called me after she had already shed tears with one of her classmates. I felt so bad and before I went to bed, said a silent prayer to the glass blowing gods that this time, the project wouldn’t spontaneously shatter and she could finally go home and rest.
At 2:00 am she texted back that she had indeed finished the project and had also finished a project for her Fibers and Materials class where she was embroidering my denim jacket, a sock and a shirt with a symbol that was empowering to her. I hope when I eventually get my jacket back, it’ll be empowering to me too.
I’m sure if you have a child away at college, they may not be fretting about glass blowing but instead, it could be molecular biology, or statistics, or their pre-law classes. No matter how old our kids get, we just can’t stop worrying.
But it doesn’t stop with finals week. On the weekends, when she’s out with her friends at parties, I check my phone in the wee hours of the morning to make sure she’s taken an Uber back to her apartment and she’s sound asleep in her bed. I send her silly bitmoji messages during the week telling her good night and I love her just so she knows I’m always thinking about her.
When it comes time for her to come home, I worry when she’s under our roof – especially if it’s 3am and she still hasn’t returned home and it’s raining or snowing outside.
Recently, my daughter informed me that she’d like to study abroad the first semester of her junior year. The location she’ll be studying in is Rome and I know it’ll be pretty amazing when we get to visit her, but then I’ll be worrying about her from thousands of miles away.
Sometimes I honestly wonder if it was easier being sleep deprived with a newborn than sleep deprived with a child approaching adulthood.
I know I should just trust everything will be fine and not worry so much but it’s hard to turn that switch off in my brain. I even have the location services device activated on my phone so I can check and see if she’s safe in bed if I haven’t heard from her late at night. I’m sure you probably think I’m nuts, but my kids mean everything to me and I just want to make sure they are getting enough sleep, know they are supported and also be there if they call or text no matter what time it is – especially if she just wants to let me know she’s okay.
If you’re a mom of an infant or toddler or preteen I’m here to let you in on a little secret. While your relationship with your child will change in amazing ways over time, the part that never gets easier is the one where you worry about their lives, their future and their mental well being no matter how old they get. Try as we might, as parents, we worry. I guess that’s our jobs. Here’s hoping that one day, I’ll be able to worry just a little bit less.