Saturday, February 03, 2007

You Never Stop Being a Parent

This isn't going to be a newsflash to anyone who has older children, but to those of you who have babies or toddlers or god-forbid-teenagers or who maybe haven't taken the plunge into parenthood quite yet but are thinking about it - it never ever ends. Not when they become 18, not when they graduate from college, not when they get married, not even when they have children of their own. They are always your babies, in your heart.

A bit of poor communication this week resulted in this being brought home once again in the most gut-wrenching way. A night was spent in worry and frustration as temperatures outside plunged below zero and people weren't where they were thought to be and gravel roads were driven with one eye to the road and the other to the snow-filled ditches. All was well and communication was re-established by ten o'clock the next morning, but this mom didn't get any sleep Thursday night. At all. Those are the times when an over-active imagination and love of all mystery-murder-CSI-type shows came back to bite me in the ass.

It's a fine line to let your children live their lives and yet keep an eye out for their safety and happiness. It's hard to know that they are self-sufficient and yet feel if I were the one in the snow-filled ditch with a dead cell phone and sub-zero temps and only ice covered cornfields between me and civilation, I would hope someone would miss me and come looking.

I've been accused of being over-protective at times. As I've told my children many, many times... "If we didn't love you, we wouldn't care". I know this was just a case of mis-communication. I know it's not going to happen again. Still... it's a sleepless night that will take awhile to get over. You just don't spend sleepless nights with a baby's ear infection or a toddler's bad dreams. You don't only sit up worrying that your teenager is hanging with a bad crowd or that the last time you had a fight there were hidden messages between the lines.

It really never ends. I wouldn't want it to. It's called love.