Parent Diary: Worry & Pride

An airplane vanishes. A ferryboat capsizes. Families wait, worrying, unwilling to accept the inevitable. I imagine the anguish these families are experiencing and wish I could offer some solace. I share their worry.

I watch my son grate horseradish by hand, and tell him to watch his fingers.

“Mom, you worry about everything,” he admonishes.

True. I worry about my New York City- based daughter-in-law who takes long subway rides to get to work. I worry about my San Francisco -living daughter who works late nights at professional basketball games. I worry when the grandkids climb on playground structures; my son is much more relaxed. I worried when my sons wrestled in high school; I worried watching my daughter reach for long tennis shots.

When I call my parents, my father asks me how I am, ignoring my questions about how he is. He’s a worrier. If traveling, we have to be sure to call him when we arrive and return.  I remember his father, my grandfather Abie, responding in Yiddish when asked how he was feeling would say, “myt myyn hʻnt”- with my hands, dismissing our concern about his health.

I guess some of us are perpetual worriers.

Yet with worry, there’s pride.

Last night, I met my friend Yvonne to watch her son’s thesis performance for his MFA in Drama. Her pride bubbling like champagne; she told me she’s never missed any of his performances, his entire life. “It’s a mom thing,” she said.

I reminisced how we had gone to as many of our daughter’s tennis matches and college senior events we could last year and how I miss them now. She’s worried too. With graduation next month, her son needs a job. He’s entering a fickle, competitive industry; a lot depends on luck and timing.

Worry and pride, like a pair of mismatched gloves, seem the bane of parenting.

Are you a worrier? Or do you shun it and focus on being proud?


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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23 Responses to Parent Diary: Worry & Pride

  1. What a beautiful post Lisa. I tend not to be a worrier. My mother was — and her worries were always too pessimistic, she always expected the bad.

    I like to live by the motto — expected the unexpected and you’ll always be pleasantly surprised.

    And when bad things happen, like they just did in Calgary this week, I remind myself that this is an anomaly, not the norm. That love is always the answer — and compassion the only ground to stand on.


    Love this post.


  2. Thanks, Louise. True, worrying tends to be pessimistic and as my husband says, “wasted energy.” Funny how some of us are and some aren’t. My mother doesn’t worry; my father does enough for both of them. Yes, love and hope win.


  3. I don’t naturally worry or should I say I didn’t used to. It seems I worry more as I get older about my parents’ health, about my daughter carving out her space in this world. I wonder what changed.
    Diana xo


  4. Yes, I worry about all that too.


  5. Drjcwash says:

    So true. I find myself caring and concerned about everything. However, I think we are normal. My Mom calls if she hears we have bad weather. I tell her that snow does not affect us like it does in the South. She calls to check on my son every Saturday. She then asks about my husband. I now know that that is just what mothers do. She gives me updates on all the family. I have slowed down on the worry. My new mantra is “All is well.” I still worry but not as much. You have to worry about your children especially now. I worry if my sons will get that one great job or find their passions.


  6. ACH I’m a worrier and I so wish I wasn’t. But from the moment they were born my whole being went to constant vigilance and alertness. I think it’s normal? I hope. But eventually we let go a little when they marry and move away; only to return when the grand child is born 🙂


  7. I think I was more relaxed with my own when they were small, now I worry about everything it seems. Much more protective.


  8. Margaret Crater says:

    Big worrier here, more and more as I can affect less and less….

    And I think I love your grandfather.


  9. I think you hit it– we can affect less and less as they don’t listen to us anyway!


  10. Worrying doesn’t mean telling our children that we’re worried, does it? I know they won’t listen anyway so I save my breath and the rolled eyes. But what I feel inside and worry about is my property: not to be shared with the children.


  11. Great post, Lisa. My mom has always been a worrier. One night she slept downstairs next to the phone because my sister had forgotten to call and tell her she’d arrived home safely. Sister had met friends on her way home and gone out to a party. 🙂 I don’t worry about my children any more. They’re old enough to look after themselves, and their children. Luckily, we’re in regular contact with one another, and they share every detail of their lives. If there was anything wrong, I’m sure they would tell me.


  12. jmgoyder says:

    We are definitely on the same wavelength!


  13. Judy says:

    I am a worrier for sure and try so hard not to be. Just need to let go…..and seize the challenges and triumphs of life…..we are all on a journey…well these are the things i tell myself!! Wonderful post Lisa and nice to hear from other worriers.


  14. Misery loves company?


  15. Leah says:

    If I had a dollar for every time I said, “Be careful!” I’d be rich! Worrying = parenthood in my book.


  16. ShimonZ says:

    I don’t think it’s good to worry too much. I save it for extreme cases. But I realize that we can’t recommend to someone not to worry. It comes from deep inside. It’s connected to our attitude towards our surroundings… to life itself. When it comes to pride though, I avoid it like the plague. Better to give humble thanks than to be proud.


  17. I take pride in my children’s achievements and think telling them so is a good thing.


  18. This has been my morning to continue trying to catch up on my favorite bloggers, after a long spate of shit storm! What a joy to find this one, first. It echoes my own thoughts these weeks leading up to graduations. My nephew this weekend (I helped raise him, and I fly to FL tomorrow), both of my sons, and my exchange student… another boy I love, leaving. Ahhh. I think I’ve never been much of a worrier, not in the classic sense. I’ve also (generally) balanced my pride, but I love your metaphor of mismatched gloves; it screams the truth. Beautiful piece, Lisa!


  19. Thanks- congrats on all the graduations– I have 2 nieces from hs, one nephew from hs, and one from college– does make me feel old as i remember them as babies.


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