Categorized | Features, Laurie's Scribbles

My Kids Are Older, So I Can Stop Worrying, Right?

Kids worrying

Laurie’s sons, Patrick (l) and Paul (r) are adults, but she can’t stop worrying about them.

By Laurie Stone

My son Patrick and his band mates toured the Midwest recently. I followed their progress on Facebook as they drove from Connecticut to Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Pennsylvania. In the photos, they’re young, beautiful and smiling. I cheer along and always click the “heart button” underneath. Patrick’s doing what he loves.

So why can’t I stop worrying? I promised myself I’d be one of those cool moms. I’d let Patrick text me. I wouldn’t check on him every day.

The Facebook pictures keep coming. In Indiana, Patrick sits atop the band’s van, smiling. He writes how happy he is. Travelling across the land and meeting new people are opening his eyes. Life is good.

Then comes the call the next day.

mother, worrying“We lost our brakes on I-80,” he says. “Somehow I used the emergency brake to get to the side. We got a tow to a garage and then hitchhiked to rent a U-Haul. We still have a gig tonight.”

My insides wither. And that’s when the hamster wheel, the one I had carefully stowed away, comes out. I picture the “what if’s.” What if that call had come from an Indiana State Trooper? “There’s been an accident.”

I tell myself nothing happened. All four are fine. They now have a war story to add to their “touring band” arsenal. And after everything, they made it to the gig via a rented U-Haul. “It was one of the best shows we ever played,” Patrick says.

The rest of the tour goes well. The fans love them. I see Facebook pictures from Chicago where they stayed in a rundown motel in what turns out to be a sketchy part of town (glad I learn this after the fact). Another shows Patrick in a Chicago music store, surrounded by his beloved Fender and Gibson guitars.

The next day, a picture displays him standing outside a Milwaukee bar at midnight, a friendly-faced man next to him. He’s a fellow musician, one of many Patrick meets. Everywhere they go, they’re impressed by the kindness of Midwesterners.

The band camped out most nights to save money. That also starts me worrying. Yes, four grown men are hardly a vulnerable group. Still, there are always stories.

Despite my earlier vow to be a cool mom, I text Patrick every day. How are you? Where are you? Are you having fun?

They play a show in Iowa and then head off to Michigan. All this driving makes me nervous. Are they getting exhausted? Is there too much late night travel and not enough rest?

I was grateful when they reached Michigan where they stay with the mother of Patrick’s girlfriend. There’s something soothing, knowing that Emily and her mom, Maureen, oversee good meals and hot showers.

Their last gig was Pennsylvania. But, first they had to drive back to Indiana, return the rented U-Haul, and get their repaired van. They leave Michigan at 9 p.m., knowing they’d drive all night and into the morning.

I wake at 3 a.m. thinking of my son cruising through the vast, dark Midwest plains. The hamster wheel wants to come out, but I keep it under the bed.

The next morning, another Facebook picture appears. It shows the guys driving into a red and yellow sunrise somewhere in Ohio. They’re back in their van. The Indiana mechanics stayed up all night to get it repaired.

Seeing that image helps me feel better. But then it’s replaced by another unexpected emotion.

Envy.

What a great adventure, I think. What an incredible journey to make with your friends. I always wanted to jump in a car when young and go cross-country, but never did.

I picture Patrick and his buddies as old men someday talking about this experience. They made a dream come true. They brought their music to people thousands of miles away. They survived a near calamity on I-80, but went on to play the best night of their lives.

The next morning they drive back to Connecticut. Finally my phone pings with the text I’d been waiting for: “We’re home.”

I give a prayer of thanks.

I tell myself Patrick’s a grown man with his own life. Am I still allowed to worry about my boy? And I know the answer is and always will be… yes.

Patrick posts one last picture of the trip on Facebook. And once again, I add my heart.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog,”Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

5 Responses to “My Kids Are Older, So I Can Stop Worrying, Right?”

  1. Joan stommen says:

    Oh so beautiful, Laurie…so very true. My kids are pushing fifty, but I still worry…their health, their life choices. I like your “hampster wheel under the bed”…some nights it works sometimes it won’t stay there!!
    Thank you for sharing your son’s adventure…great fun for him but night driving and highways are Mom worry triggers for sure! Well done 😊

  2. I’m struggling with this too. In general, I don’t make room for worry, but in the wee hours of the morning, it can creep in and keep me awake.

  3. I know how you feel. My grown daughter lives in Minnesota now and when she didn’t respond to my text the other night I was worried until I heard from her the next morning.

  4. Diane says:

    I love this story, Laurie! It’s proof we never EVER stop being Moms!
    And I’m so happy for your boy that he got to do this! He’ll remember it forever!

  5. Lisa Romeo says:

    I find I worry even more now that my two sons are in their 20s. About everything. As Beverly Donofrio once wrote, this job just never ends. My hamster wheel is in near constant motion. Thanks for this story. Nice to know I have company!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

Join Now for the 50 Plus Newsletter