It’s normal to worry about our kids, right? What happens when that worry starts to take over? What happens when worrying about them starts to make you a little bit crazy?
Each day I worry about my four boys. Every…Single…Day.
I worry that my youngest will continue to struggle in school and that his bright outlook and positive spirit will eventually be crushed. I worry that his brother’s PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections) will resurface as he enters high school and the pressure will be too much. There’s the worry that my oldest will get frustrated with our push to hold him accountable and he’ll choose to remove himself from our lives, because he’s an adult and he can. And without a doubt my biggest worry is over my 18-year-old who has been struggling with depression over the last few months*. Every time I don’t hear from him for several hours, or the days where he’s been sleeping for a really long time, my thoughts instantly wander to the fear that he has given in to the darkness, that he gave up on himself.
I have found that the biggest trick is that I don’t want them to know that I worry. Should they know? At least the adult children? Would it matter? Is it selfish to give them the burden of my worry? Would knowing cause them to just hide their feelings from me so that I won’t worry? I think it would. I think my kids would shoulder that burden.
Each day, and I mean each day, I pray for all four of them. I pray that they find the light, the joy, the courage to live their lives and be happy.
I encourage them. I send little notes and quotes. I tell them I’m proud of them. I ask about their day and help them find the positives. I try to make them feel included, wanted, loved.
And some days I blow it. And other days I REALLY blow it. Some days I say the wrong thing or ask too many questions, or not enough, it’s not always possible to know which direction is the right direction. I push when I shouldn’t. I hold back when I should push. Some days I’m just tired. Some days I worry so much about one or two of them that the others get left behind.
Some days I think I need a labor intensive hobby to stop the incessant worrying about my kids. (Insert LOL emoji here.)
In the end, the worry and fear, it’s all part of the parenting deal. Some phases are just harder than others. When more than one of them goes through a valley at the same time, it can feel like the weight of a thousand boulders is pulling me down into those valleys with them.
There should really be a rule that only one kid can have a problem at a time, it’s only fair. But there isn’t. So the answer, as I see it, is to pray, see the light and love them with all I’ve got. And search for a hobby!
*Yes, we have gotten him into therapy and his coping skills have improved dramatically.
For more information on PANDAS visit www.pandasnetwork.org.
For more information on Suicide Prevention visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org