Before I became a mother, I had the mistaken idea it was going to be all smiles, giggles and sweet smelling tiny humans. I had no idea that if you looked up the word, worry, in the dictionary you would find the first synonym listed was mother.
Aunt Molly tried to tell me that my ideas were twisted and the dictionary was right. But what did she know? Back when she raised her six boys and five girls, things were different. Nowadays we had changed our ways of thinking and the dictionary hadn't been updated in decades so it was wrong.
I was in my twenties the first time I had to take my son to the emergency room for stitches in the top of his head. What goes up, must come down. The tire iron went up to shake the jump rope belonging to the little girl next door out of the tree. The tire iron came down on top of my son's head. I turned green and thought I'd pass plumb out from worry. As soon as I got out of the emergency room I called Aunt Molly to ask her when a mother stop worrying?
She laughed and told me to think about it and call her back when I figured out the answer because she sure didn't have it. Her kids were all grown and she was still worrying about them.
When I was in my thirties and all three children were various forms of the rebellious stage, my childless neighbor said, "Don't worry. They'll outgrow this and then you can stop worrying and enjoy them."
I called Aunt Molly and she said the neighbor had rocks for brains.
In my forties, I got calluses on my knees from praying that they would all survive to adulthood and I wouldn't be locked up in a padded cell before they did. A psychology major who was a dear friend said, "Don't worry. This is normal. They'll all turn out fine."
I called Aunt Molly. She said to take the psychology book from the friend and beat the kids with it.
In my fifties, the kids were all out of the nest and had kids of their own so I could stop worrying. Right? Wrong! Now the worry business took on a new wrinkle. I could worry but there wasn't one thing I could do about it.
I called Aunt Molly and she said now I was beginning to understand the foundation of motherhood.
I got wrinkles and gray hair from worrying. I gained twenty pounds from worrying. A friend said, "You are pale. Are you worried about something?"
I called Aunt Molly. She said to tell the friend to adopt a kid, keep it twenty years and then she could talk about the art of worrying.
There is a bright side to this story. Last week, Mr. B and I were out of pocket for a whole evening and both of us forgot our cell phones. When we got home the light on the answering machine looked like twinkling Christmas lights. The kids and half the grandkids had been tying to call for hours.
The message was the same in many different voices. "Where are you? I've been calling all evening. When you get home, call me. I don't care what time it is. I'm so worried about y'all."
Aha! The torch has been passed.
I called Aunt Molly. She laughed and said to unplug the phones and wait until morning to call any of them.