Several years ago, I played the part of Albert Peterson’s mother in the play “Bye, Bye, Birdie.” It was a dream role for me. I used my Jersey accent and every ounce of mother that was in me to portray this neurotic character, performed so well in the movie by Jean Stapleton.
The truth is, I was playing myself. At the time, my kids were all out of high school and starting careers. I should’ve been confident that some of my parenting skills would pay off, but I never stopped worrying about them. When they began their own families, I bathed in the love of being a grandmother. As they grew in their careers, I was proud. As they grew in their faith, I could see that the Lord was working on them. As they became responsible adults, I could let go a little, but I still worried about them. Today, these children are 52, 50 & 46. They’ve established themselves as confident, talented, skillful and intelligent grown ups. I still worry.
There’s a line in “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” which says it all. “I’m only a mother.” That’s me. I will always be a mother.
Today, my oldest daughter will be going to two doctor appointments. She and her husband will go on to Clemson to pick up her youngest son. The three of them will then head to the airport for a fourteen hour trip to S. Korea to visit their oldest son, who has been teaching English there for the past six months. The reunion should be amazing. Still, I worry. I’m only a mother. Please pray for safe travels and a wonderful experience for all of them.
There is no instruction manual for parents. There are a few books with varying opinions, but I think the best way to parent is first go to the Bible for words which will lift you up and console you. Then fly by the seat of your pants. It’s an amazing adventure – one that fills you with excitement, anxiety, depression, hope, faith and a whole lot of other emotions. Let me tell you, I wouldn’t trade my motherhood for anything.
My husband tells me I worry too much. I know I should have confidence in God’s plan. I know I should trust that He will guide my children; keep them safe and protect them; walk with them through adversity and joy. I know all of that, but the mother in me will always worry, because it’s who I am!