I'll never forget a conversation I had with my parents on the day my first child was born. After nurses came to take my son for his hearing test, I turned to them and expressed concern about him passing the test. My father gave a knowing look to my mom and said, "Welcome to the next 18 years of your life!" My mom said, "18 years? Welcome to worrying about your children for the rest of your life!"
Though I'm reminded of the exchange daily as I nurse playground injuries and hurt feelings, I thought back recently when I received one of those email chain letters that promised me a life of happiness if I sent it on to a dozen other people. The message, titled "Worry," told the fictional story of a mother thinking she had passed the point of worry each time her child passed a milestone, only to be faced with a new set of worries. Once her children have tots of their own, the then-grandmother's concern shifts to her grandchildren and the process begins again. It made me wonder if parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry?