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October 3, 2013

ABBOTT: The art of being a die-hard worrier

When I don’t have something to worry about, I invent it. This is not an acceptable practice for any parent. Life provides enough natural worries.

This thought came to me as I was discussing the potential government shut-down with my adult son, who lives in Washington DC. I visited him for the weekend, and I wondered how he would go to work if the Metro shut down. He told me that the Metro was not a federal program and that I worried too much.

I explained to him that worrying is the privilege of many mothers.

Did you secretly follow the bus after sending a child to school for the first time?

I honestly wanted to, as I waved good-bye to the five-year-old with his adorable five-year-old sized backpack. But, I did not follow.

I come from a long line of champion worriers, the “I want to thank the Academy” prize-winning worriers, women for who worrying was almost an Olympic sport.

Pregnancy is where we first learn to worry. For some of us, even getting pregnant is fraught with worries.

Once with child, we believe that everything will be okay, just as soon as our baby is delivered. The joke is on us — that’s when the real worrying begins. The morning sickness and the delivery worries are just a prelude to the real punch line that there is a lifetime of larger worries ahead.

My husband and I felt strongly that our job as parents was to push our baby bird out of the nest, starting as early as possible. We started with overnight visits to my parents, 300 miles away, with the Cloverdale McDonald’s as our drop-off, pick-up point.

When he was eight, our son went with a friend to Lutheran Hills camp in Brown County for three nights. He was fine as he had been away from us with visits to grandparents in South Whitley. Then the Boy Scout trips began, in the freezing, icy winter to Camp Arthur by Vincennes and other places.

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