“There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.” – Jacqueline Carey
Isn’t it funny how life is a full circle?
I remember it so clearly, though it was almost 32 years ago. We had just gotten married, and my husband and I loaded up my not-so-cool 1980 Mustang (a sorry excuse for a “hot” set of wheels… it was the model year when one could buy a four-cylinder, fuel-efficient, nothing-under-the-hood quasi-sports car). We were heading from Michigan to Arizona, where we’d spend a few months while my husband was in school. I was pretty excited as we set off on our new adventure. Of course there were no cell phones, GPS or any other technological conveniences that we are accustomed to having when traveling today. We tossed the bags in the trunk, grabbed the maps, said our teary goodbyes and we were on our way.
Fond memories envelop me as I recall that road trip. We drove through states I had never seen, ate in restaurants I had never heard of, experienced driving through the Rocky Mountains and witnessed the lush green landscape of the east give way to sand and cactus of the west. In all of the excitement of that trip, I never really thought much of my parents’ state of mind.
Of course I missed them, I just failed to think that both sets of our parents would worry about us while we traveled, because when you’re 21 years-old with no kids and an open road, you don’t think like a parent.
In my many years of mothering, I have had more than ample time to fret and worry over everything from viruses to concussions to someone flipping over their handlebars. If the tornado sirens sounded and I couldn’t get an immediate head-count of kids, panic mode would set in.
“It’s funny but parents are always worried about their kids first.” – Kevin Na
There is nothing – truly nothing – that will send me into a worried tailspin faster than when the sound of emergency vehicles scream just moments after one of our kids takes off driving. And it doesn’t matter if it is the oldest who has been driving more than ten years or the youngest who has been driving about ten months.
One saving grace is that due to technology, I can call them once I am fairly certain they have reached their destination. Or, if they are a passenger, I send a quick, “I heard sirens, are you okay?” text.
I am fairly certain that as our oldest daughter and her husband set out to drive to an out-of-state wedding the other day, she wasn’t surprised when I called to share my, um, motherly advice:
- “Don’t sit too long – you don’t want to get a blood clot.” (Yes, yes I did say that.)
- “Make sure you keep us in the loop as to where you are.”
- “If you feel tired, pull over and sleep.”
If I had remembered, I would have added my dad’s two-cents:
- “At night, don’t turn the light on to read the map. Everyone will know you’re lost.” (Not sure how you can read in the dark, but, okay, the advice has some merit.)
I am most certain that our daughter and her husband rolled their eyes when I sent a text, (at the urging of my husband), alerting them to possible storms.
Our oldest son lives out-of-state, and when they come home, he or his wife send a text as they get through each state. At first, I thought it was their sheer excitement of inching closer to home, but maybe it is just their way to keep me from pestering them with continuous travel and weather updates.
Honestly, I am absolutely thrilled that all four of them have the itch to travel. It makes me excited for them to have new experiences and see the world. But the mom in me worries about their safety, even though three of them are full-grown adults.
I remember one Christmas Eve, my husband and I drove home on some of the worst roads imaginable. A five-hour trip turned into a ten-hour harrowing experience. When we got into my parents’ house, my dad was getting off the phone with the state police. I am sure his next calls would have been to emergency rooms along the way. Here I had always thought my mother was the worry-wort, and it was my dad pacing like a caged animal.
Apparently, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
One day, our kids will have a good laugh and think back to the days mom worried over things like slivers in their fingers and whether they spent enough time brushing their teeth. They will laugh at the travel tidbits that their dad and I gave them. And if they’re as blessed as we are, one day, they will be parents of travelers, and they, too, will be pacing the floors and finally breathe when their children get to their destinations. They will say a prayer of thanks to God that their babies are safe.
And then they will want to call me and say, “Sorry that we made you and Dad worry,” just like I once did.
Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
And life is a full circle.
© Lynne Cobb – 2015