As a mom myself, I have to say that giving birth to a child is a lot of work. Staying up half the night with a small, screaming infant or a sick, miserable child is exhausting. Having small children who have inexhaustible amounts of energy and zero fear is also rather trying. Homework is never-ending, reading parenting books is defeating and there is never enough toilet paper. These are all a given.
However, NO ONE warned me about the fact that these experiences pale in comparison to the worries that parents have when their child is grown. And drives. And smashes their car. More than once.
Recently, I have diagnosed myself with PTODD, which stands for Post Traumatic Offspring Driving Disorder. You won’t find it in any DSM but, trust me, it exists. It began when Eldest Son started driver’s training and I’m still not over it. The symptoms vary, but, in my case, it manifests itself by me believing, beyond a doubt, that my child is in mortal danger when I wake up in the middle of the night and didn’t hear him or her come in. I can go from zero to mortally wounded and in a ditch in 0.2 seconds.
Recently, I brought this up to our eldest children. I expressed my love and concern for them and told them about my darkest fears. It went something like this:
Me: “You know, when you come home late and I don’t realize that you’re home, I think the worst. I worry that you’ve been in an accident and they can’t find your i.d. and your cell phone is smashed and that’s why the police haven’t notified me. I realize that this is a little over the top but I just want you to be careful.”
Eldest Son: “I’m sorry, Mom. I don’t mean to worry you. That’s terrible.”
Teenage Daughter: “Mom, that’s just weird. If I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t find someone, I would just figure that they went out to pick up food.”
Clearly, I need to take some cues from Teenage Daughter.
Wishing all you moms out there a chill Mother’s Day. You deserve it.