my bastard child

Anxiety and I are in a real relationship.  We are close.  We are like this. 

We have a bastard child together, Anxiety and I.  Its name is Worry.  I carry Worry in a sling with me everywhere I go.

I worry most about my Oldest.  I’m not exactly sure why.  Sometimes I blame it on the fact that he was 6 1/2 weeks premature.  I worry that he wasn’t ready for life and will never recover from being shot into it unprepared.  Sometimes I blame myself for being so vigilant with him.  Once, when he fell hard asleep, as babies do, I was sure I had killed him.  I was sure I had unknowingly snapped his soft neck under my fingers.  Sometimes I blame it on the fact he was the youngest kid in his class for most of his life, and always clung on by his fingertips as his classmates moved blithely ahead.  Sometimes I just blame him for not grabbing life, for not allowing himself, as James Merrill wrote, “to be lived by life.”   

Yesterday, the iChat bubble bounced on my screen.  It was Oldest.  Here is what he wrote:


ive noticed that the easiest way to stay in the present is to notice everything you can about the present

and try to find beauty in everything.


I think it may be time to untie the sling, set my bastard child down, and walk away.   

5 thoughts on “my bastard child

  1. That boy is going to be just fine, no doubt about it. Man, what college is he going to that this, this is what he writes you rather than relaying tales of drunken debauchery? 😉

  2. slouching mom, I KNOW! He goes to Bard College. It may be that he spent his high school in drunken debauchery and thus has burnt out his need for it…

  3. The whole idea of motherhood is to work yourself out of a job, if you’re successful in your parenting. I feel the pain associated with this on a daily basis…(happy they’re independent, but sad that I’m not needed).
    Teach your children well and they’ll become self-sufficient and independent thinkers… but you’ll still be their mother–just on a different level. Hopefully, at that stage or point in life, your relationship will blossom into something entirely different with your children.

  4. I think I’ll always have that particular child lurking nearby, every time he’s sleeping too quietly (or too loudly), has a scratch, falls over (especially since his broken femur). But then he’s three and there’s such a long (I hope) way to go. One day, one hour, one moment at a time…

  5. Mizmell, yes I totally agree about working one’s way out of the job (see the tag line under my title!). And it is, indeed, a bittersweet process.
    (un)relaxeddad, I know just how you feel. And when something traumatic has happened – like a broken femur – we get even more vigilant and clutch the bastard child tighter.

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