Much as it overwhelms me to really think about it, I am beginning to realize that sleeplessness due to runny noses, teething and baby hunger is the easy part of parenting.
I have had a lot of opportunities lately to hang out with moms of grown and near-grown children and whew. The letting go and trusting them and watching them make terrible, frightening decisions part? Must cause more sleeplessness than all the babies you ever had combined.
The thing is, we are really fine with our kids making decisions we merely dislike. So Nat wants to be a republican investment banker? What of it? Go Nat. So Selina converts to a religion that baffles us? God bless her!
It's decisions that could truly cause them serious harm that loom for me. I talked to a mom recently whose daughter moved in with her drug-addicted, abusive boyfriend last year and won't leave him for love or money. I talked to a mom whose grown child has a heart defect mom spent 18 years coddling and treating with perfect medical precision and now daughter treats herself carelessly and lands in the hospital with pneumonia every few weeks.
Then there are the scary things pretty much outside anyone's control.
Yesterday, I got to "See [My] Soldier" "My" soldier is former student/current pal, Jen. Her folks graciously allowed me to nose in on their video time and chat with their daughter for a little while.
Afterwards, we had a quick cup of tea. Her mother shook her head, "life just goes on," she said. "People have no idea."
No, they don't. As a mother I can only imagine the sleeplessness Jen's mom is coping with for these "fifteen miserable months" as she put it.
Jen is a great person. She's talented, smart, personable, sensible and responsible. Her parents are rightfully proud of her. Even I'm proud of her, much as I'd like to see her go AWHOL and sneak off to Canada. But here she is, caught up in something threatening so many children--grown and otherwise, American and otherwise--that no mom can stop alone. Let's keep holding the current Congress and the presidential candidates' feet to the fire and get all of our children home asap, so all these moms can finally get some sleep.