Parents: Don't stop worrying when Monday rolls around

April 17, 2007|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Sun Columnist

Parents are always worrying about their kids, but there are certain times when parents worry more. When they feel like they are going to lose their minds with worry.

Parents worry when their kids are out in cars after dark. Parents worry when their kids are hanging out with friends they don't trust, friends who make the hair on the backs of their necks prickle. Parents worry like crazy when their kids miss curfew and then don't answer their cell phones.

Parents are always worrying about their children, but there are certain times when parents worry less.

Monday morning might be one of those times.

Virginia Tech parents began yesterday morning thinking about their kids - because we are always thinking about our kids. But they were probably thinking their kids were on their way to class. Those parents probably thought that on a Monday morning, it was safe to back off the panic button.

If they were worried at all, it might have been about a test, a paper or a project that their son or daughter had fussed about during a weekend phone call. The semester is winding down. The pressure is building. If you are a parent of a college student, you might be worried about grades.

If it was Friday morning, you might be worried about whether your college student had started the weekend early. You might be worried about whether he is going to make his Friday classes. But it wasn't a Friday morning.

If it was a Saturday morning or a Sunday morning, you might be worried about what happened the night before. You'd be worried about too much drinking. You'd be worried about your child getting home safe. But it wasn't a weekend morning.

It was a Monday morning. A rainy, windy, cold Monday morning. You might be worried that your college student was rushing the season and going to class in flip-flops. You might be worried that your child is going to catch cold or flunk a test.

But you aren't worried that the phone is going to ring and someone on the other end is going to tell you that your child has been gunned down on a college campus in the middle of a bucolic nowhere, a place laughably far removed from violence.

If you are one of the millions of parents watching this tragedy unfold, the first thing that occurs to you is that you are right to worry all the time. You might be paranoid, but you are right to be paranoid. This is proof that it is never safe to worry less.

If you can't stop your mind when it gets loose and starts imagining the worst, you are not crazy. You are practicing for disaster, because days like Monday are proof that it is out there waiting to find you.

If disaster didn't strike you this Monday morning - if it was not your child or even your child's school - you can't sigh with relief, because this proves that you can never relax. You can never let down your guard.

Because if someone else's children can be gunned down on a bucolic college campus in the middle of nowhere on a Monday morning, you can imagine what is waiting for you.

And that's it, exactly. You can imagine what is waiting for you.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

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