Cryin' in the English Countryside

My wife woke up this morning describing a nightmare. Our daughter, who is twenty-two today, was driving around the English countryside lost and crying. She called my wife for directions on her cell phone as she tried to find her way.

This is the quintessential parental angst dream. Our child is in need and we can’t get to him or her. The back story is that our daughter is currently in England, quite competently caring for her adult self, and, yet, she is so very far away. What if something happened?

It occurs to me today—on my eldest’s twenty-second birthday—that the issues have not really changed only the locales are different. When our children are small, we worry that something could happen to them in their cribs at night. And so we have electronic baby monitors or we keep their cribs in our room. As they get older we worry that they will get injured at child care by an aggressive child and so we pick the child care center carefully or we keep them away from other children entirely. When our children begin school we worry what they will learn from others, so we struggle to trust that our values learned at home will carry them through or we monitor their every action. As they leave for college and they become adults, we hover and make decisions for them or we let go while providing a safety net.

And we worry.

We worry about the present. We worry if our parenting is up to snuff. Heck, we even worry in our dreams as my wife did last night. My father tells me it never changes; he worries about us today.

No wisdom today. Just an observation about reality.

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