Sunday, April 01, 2007

Mama Bird Worries When Baby Birds Leave the Nest

As I write this, I have my butt mentally glued to my seat so that I don’t pace the floor out of concern for my children’s welfare. You see, I actually have a rare moment when all four children (and my husband) are out of the house. But instead of enjoying the solitude, I’m spending the time worrying about them!

My oldest son, age 17, is in New Orleans—a very long way from home. He left two days ago with a group from church, and he’ll be helping to rebuild houses that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. And the “what ifs” fill my mind: What if he falls off a roof? What if he’s hurt using power tools? He’s in a poor neighborhood . . . what if he gets robbed?

My 14-year-old is riding his bike to a park to meet some friends. I know he has to cross a busy road to get there. What if he gets hit by a car? Should I have driven him?

My husband took our 3-year-old twins to the beach by himself so I could get some work done at home. What if the twins run off in different directions and get hurt? Or drown in the ocean? What if they get bit by a jellyfish?

As you can tell, the worst-case scenario always pops into my head! But regardless of how much my stomach is churning, I know I need to let my children have wings. My husband lectures me that I’m not doing the children any good by sheltering them—that they must learn to do things for themselves and build up confidence in their abilities. And, I know he’s right. It is good for them not to depend on me to escort them everywhere they go. So, I say my prayers and swallow the Pepto-Bismol. But that won’t stop me from breathing a huge sigh of relief when my little chicks return to the nest—at least until the next time they fly away from home!

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