Monday, October 31, 2011

A Mother's Worry

The phone call shook me up.

My little boy walks home from school. Himself. It was hard for me to let go again after the horrific events of this summer. But he is old enough to do it, he is ready for it, and it's what he wants. So, despite my uneasiness, I understood that this was the right thing.

The woman on the phone introduced herself. She saw my little boy standing on a street corner looking confused and she offered her help. She described where they were, and my heart stopped.

It was a spot so many of us became familiar with as we watched Leiby Kletzky, lost and alone, finally walk off with a monster.

It's a confusing corner. My little boy was ok. He would have figured it out on his own. He was never in any real danger.

But I couldn't stop shaking.

From the moment my first child was born, I promised myself that I'd keep him safe. I'd protect my children forever. I'd shield them from life's harshness.

I can't do that, of course.

But I can worry.

I worry when they leave the house in the morning. I worry about them crossing the streets. I worry when I see cars speeding around a corner. I take a mental count of all my children when I hear a siren or a short stop. I worry if one of them looks pale. I worry about them making friends. I worry about shidduchim.

And then they grow older, and they move out on their own.

And I still worry.

My son and daughter-in-law came for Succos. I love seeing them. I love seeing my son in this new role, and I love seeing how happy they are.

My daughter-in-law was not feeling well one morning, and we had a bit of a scare. She was ok, but I worried for the rest of Yom Tov.

One of Chava's punishments is tzaar gidul banim – the pain of raising children. She will be tired and stressed and overworked. There will be the daily pressures and the inevitable crises.

But it's deeper than that. Her curse is her mother love. She will spend all her days worrying about her children. There is pain in that love.

But along with the pain, there is beauty. It is a unique love.

I realized that I will never stop worrying.

My children will grow up and leave home. There will be new people joining our family. And every new family member is another person to worry about.

And another person to love.


  1. So true!
    “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

  2. So so true. You're great for knowing how to be a good combo of protective mom while not being a helicopter mom.

  3. That sounded so insightful for what it's like to be a parent. Not that I would know, but even as a single guy I feel like everything you wrote is something that I've experienced in one way or another, albeit to a much lesser extent.

    I'm both anticipating and dreading the challenge that being a father to children will be. Of course, I'm doing more looking forward than dreading, but the worrying and nisyonos that child-rearing presents are frightening.

    @Chanalesings: Great quote!

  4. Chanale...

    Welcome! :)
    I love that quote!


    It's a hard thing to balance, and I'm not always so successful with it.


    Dreading? Don't. Sure there are challenges, but there's nothing in the world like it.

  5. That is so, so beautiful. It is such a different twist to Chava’s curse of tza’ar gidul banim. I always thought of it as the pain of pregnancy, childbirth and raising children – cuz all of that is a real big challenge. But this actually makes it a little more heartwarming. As hard as it is, it comes along with a strong love a mother has for her children.

    Personally, nothing could prepare me for that feeling until I had my first child. Holding a tiny newborn baby who is so pure and innocent and didn’t (yet) do a thing wrong in his life filled my heart with such a strong emotion…and I knew that I would love my child no matter what he did…and I do.

    A mother will “spend all her days worrying about her children. There is pain in that love. But along with the pain, there is beauty. It is a unique love.” I love that. It’s so true.

    This is you-a mother who loves her children so deeply. Your children are lucky to have you.

  6. Devorah...

    There are definitely plenty of challenges in having and raising children. But there is nothing in the world like being a mother. There is no love like a mother's love for her child. Sure, we worry...but that's all part of loving, isn't it?

  7. Well, I can't fathom that quite yet lol, but the challenges of being a parent in these times scare me (and the word "understatement" can't be made connotative enough to explain just how scared I am).

  8. This post really hit home (found it on Haveil Havalim, where I hadn't been for ages).

    I have 5 grown children, and 7 grandchildren (ptu, ptu, ptu)and I constantly worry. I worry about their health. I worry about whether they can or cannot "make ends meet" financially. I worry about their jobs or lack thereof.
    I worry about them, wanting them to be happy and fulfilled. I love them with a depth that is unimaginable, and I worry.

    Compare all this to not having children? I wouldn't trade it for the world.

  9. Lady-Light...

    You said that better than I ever could. Thank you!

  10. This is amazing and inspiring. From an also not-yet parent, thank you for sharing your insights with us!

  11. Thank you for this post.

    I live in a very safe suburban neighborhood and still didn't let my son walk home alone until 5th grade. By 6th grade, he wanted to stop at the library or the kickball field on the way home and I bought him his first cell phone. For my own peace of mind.