I try hard to be an exceptional mother, teacher, sister, and friend. But, I often fall short, despite my good intentions. It’s tough balancing all our roles in life. The one role that comes to me naturally and with no effort is the role of “worrier”! I am a top notch professional worrier!
My worries started the day I began Kindergarten. I got pulled out of my class to meet with a speech therapist once a week. I couldn’t pronounce my g’s or j’s and forget about the sh, ch, th sounds! I worried every time I opened my mouth to talk. “Would the other children be able to understand me or would they just laugh?” When I had to leave my classroom, to meet with the haggard Speech therapist in her closet (yes, her classroom was an actual closet!), I’d worry about all the sounds I couldn’t master! And then, when I’d return to my classroom I’d worry about the 30 pairs of wide eyes staring back at me from their seated rows!
Throughout my early childhood, I worried about my parent’s divorce, my mother’s new boyfriend, my inability to memorize the multiplication table, my easily tangled frizzy long hair. The list goes on and on!
As I grew and became an adult, I was able to speak clearly (those speech classes in the closet must have done some good!) and no longer worried about being understood. I still sometimes used my fingers when multiplying, but mostly I just used my cell phone’s calculator. I discovered Keratin treatments, and my hair issues were no longer a concern.
Then I became a mother and the worries came pouring down on me like a constant soaking rain. “Why did my baby cry without taking a break from 4pm to 7pm every night? Why wasn’t he talking, crawling, walking yet? Should I give him nuts? Whole milk or skim?”
The worries continued when he started school. Would he make friends? Learn to read? Remember to use the bathroom?” I would complain to my friend, who had teenagers at the time, about all these worries. And every time I complained, she’d say the same thing- “little children, little problems, big children, big problems.” Of course I wanted to slap her hard when she’d say this. She clearly didn’t understand what I was going through. My worries certainly didn’t seem little. At that time, they felt enormous.
Now that I have teenagers, I understand what my friend was trying to tell me back then. Instead of worrying about whether my child will have a friend to sit with at lunch, I worry whether he will have the good sense not to get into the car with a friend who is driving drunk.
I guess, when you’re an expert worrier, you find things to worry about at every life stage.
Being a pro worrier has helped me in my job as a kindergarten teacher. I can relate to the parents who are anxious about all the same things I worried about when my son started school. I can be genuinely compassionate and reassuring. I am also emotionally tuned into the worriers in my class. Every September, I read the book Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes to my new students. Wemberly is a little mouse who is starting school and worries about everything. I have my students draw a picture of something they worry about and then I bind the pages into a class book. Each year the children seem to worry about the same kinds of things, like, being in the dark, getting stung by a bee or bitten by a spider, big shots at the doctor’s office, monsters and other scary creatures hiding in their closets or lurking under their beds. There are always a handful of children who sit up and smile wide and announce that they aren’t worried about anything! Ahhh, how I envy them!
What do you worry about?
If you are like the handful of students in my class who don’t worry, what’s your secret?
Please share in the comment section below.
Forward this blog to all the worriers in your life!
Thanks for reading!