Oh blogs, how I love you!
I pore over the nature blogs to raise my recognition skills beyond bluebirds and cardinals. Blogs from other lands keep me in thrall for hours. I linger over decorating blogs without intention of buying so much as a throw pillow. Gardening blogs. . . ahhhhh!
Photography, cooking, crafts, and oh my gosh, the knitting blogs. . . ! Beam me up, Scottie, and don’t forget my knitting bag!
My favorites, however, are some I have bookmarked as “writing blogs” because that is exactly why I read them. I love the careful phrasing, the honesty, the wit, the emotion within.
Most of the bloggers are moms wanting to maintain their own identity even as they strive to raise caring, confident kids. They are often sassy and pepper their blogs with words I don’t dare put in my own, even if my tongue bears bite marks to keep them from popping out in conversation. They share the joys and frustrations of child rearing, the heartbreak of not always being able to protect their children from the pain they remember from their own youth. Not things like the inability to find the right sneakers, but the frustration of inadequate schools, bullying, not fitting in, loneliness. I see a younger me in them, but their rationality, thoughtfulness, and wisdom surpass any I may have had. These women are something!
I love the blogs by women my own age, too. Again, I see myself in them. They don’t want to violate their children’s privacy, but the worrying hasn’t stopped. Sometimes it’s even harder because they can’t intervene even if they see danger ahead.
A line in the movie Crazy Heart struck me…” funny how falling can feel like flying… for a little while.” We want our kids to soar, but however hard it was when we were there to catch them, it’s even harder when we can’t.
Not long ago, I read a “young mom blog” that made me smile. As she wrote about a kid-related problem, she lamented that she’d probably be worrying for the next twenty years.
Finally, an area in which I am an expert! I had no advice, for it probably would not have helped for me to yell, “Honey, you’re not even close!”
Our children are grown and have families of their own. They face their own challenges and we respect that, trying not to give unsolicited advice. (TRYING, the unsolicited advice giver hastens to say!) By distance and obligations, they move farther and farther away and we become less a part of their world. We understand that rite of passage, but does it stop us from worrying about them? Not by a long shot. Now, we worry about their kids, too.
The calendar allows us no illusions about our own timelines. Even the healthiest of us find that travel isn’t something we do with abandon any more. A strange bed can bring back the ghosts of backaches past. Bladders change our travels from “sightseeing” to “potty site seeking.”
Flying? Can they possibly make it any more stressful?
My mother spent the last years of her life homebound and tethered to an oxygen tank after rheumatoid arthritis swelled her breathing passages and the Swiss cheese-like holes in her lungs from a condition not unlike black lung disease denied her a deep breath. She lived in the same house she’d found comfortable for 40 years, even though the neighborhood around it had declined. She wanted to die in that home.
Our relationship was complicated. Once when I was in my early 50’s, I flew to visit her, to “see about Momma.” I rented a car at the Raleigh airport and drove to the small town where she lived. After several days there, I was going a little stir crazy from the confinement, and decided to take a short walk. She warned that the neighborhood had some rough characters and asked if I wanted her to go with me.
This was a woman whose feet were so swollen she could barely wear shoes, whose fingers and toes were so twisted by arthritis that she no longer had opposable thumbs, who became breathless walking to the bathroom, and who was so pain-wracked that she often lay awake reading all night. Did I want her to go along for protection?
“No, Momma. I’m just going around the neighborhood a bit. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Yet when I rounded the corner on my return, there was my mother, her portable oxygen tank on her arm, wearing her moccasins with the toes cut out, waiting in the sickening July heat to walk that last block with me and “make sure you’re okay.”
Stop worrying after 20 years? Not on your life. Or theirs.