Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

for parents -

I come across this, a column from long ago.  The sun set tonight and offered the most beautiful red sky, but I hope it is not a sailor's delight as we need the predicted rain.  


Being a Dad

D. L. Stewart


The 20-year old was supposed to meet me and my friend at 7:30 and already it was well past 8 p.m.

With equal parts of concern and irritation, I alternated glances between my watch and the front door. With each passing minute my imagination raced through the litany of possible reasons he might be late.

Inevitably, of course, it kept coming back to the ugly possibility that lurks in the mind of every parent who doesn’t know exactly where a kid is at any given moment.  He had been in an auto accident.


Finally my friend, his hair white from a lifetime of fatherhood, shook his head sympathetically and said:

“It never ends, does it?”

Eventually the 20-year old showed up, mumbled something about stopping to see his girlfriend and my imagination breathed a sigh of relief. But I kept thinking about what my friend had said.  If you needed to sum up parenthood in one sentence, that would be it.

“It never ends, does it?”

I used to think parenthood had a time limit. Or at least the possibility of time off for good behavior. Eighteen years, the kid goes off to college and you wrap it up and pour yourself a martini. Or, maybe, when the kid graduated you could pat yourself on the back, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

At the very latest, I assumed, fatherhood would end when the wedding bells rang and the kid walked back down the aisle to become somebody else’s headache.

Now I know better. I’ve been a father for 33 years and there still seems to be no end in sight.

Every time you hear a siren in the distance, if you’re a parent, you hold your breath and wait for the phone to ring.  When a TV announcer says, “Local woman in plane crash, details at 11,” you wonder if maybe you should call your daughter, just to be sure. So what if the plane crash was in New Zealand. A parent’s worry is not always rational.

A few years ago, when my stepson was on a camping trip to Minnesota, the lead story on the 6 o’clock news was about a forest fire raging in Saskatchewan.  My wife didn’t say anything, but I could see the worry lines forming on her forehead.

“That’s two states and a large province away from where he is,” I pointed out.

“I know,” she fretted, “but those things move pretty fast. Maybe we should call the weather bureau and see which way the wind is blowing up there.”

You can’t let yourself get too crazy about this parenthood thing. At some point you have to lighten up a little and convince yourself you don’t have to wait up every night until your son gets home. Especially if he’s out with his wife.

But my friend was right about it never ending.  Parenthood is a life-time job.

And on some days it seems even longer than that.



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