I worry that my kids are going to get scurvy, not a realistic fear in the twenty-first century but a fear I still have. Maybe it’s because I can’t deal with the real dangers of life. Between my anxiety over my daughter being date raped when she ventures off to college and my son being killed by a wayward cop, I choose to worry about scurvy. Scurvy is something I can control. I find myself wondering if I throw an orange really hard at my kids and the orange bursts open and some of the juice gets on their arm, will it seep in and prevent the dreaded ailment.
I also worry about what kind of mother I am. I find that women who think they are amazing mothers usually suck. Mothers who think they are just OK usually are just that, OK. Moms who fret and fuss and constantly doubt themselves or say worry about, oh I don’t know, their offspring getting scurvy, usually are doing a good job. Eighteenth century pirate disease aside, I often wonder if I will ever stop wondering if I am doing a good job as a mother. When I am sixty and my kids are…however old (math is not my strong suit) will I still doubt the advice I give them or will I be steady in my wisdom?
Will I ever be confident in my parenting ability? I come from a long lineage of strong, independent women who parent with the philosophy of “I don’t give a fuck” which maybe leads to other strong independent women. As a parent do you ever feel as if you have done a good job? When your kid gets accepted into an Ivy League school, do you feel complete or do you continually try and spit shine their hair so it looks good for pictures?
One of my favorite videos to watch is John F. Kennedy, Jr. graduating from Brown and as he is walking through the crowd, he sees his mother, my widow idol, Jackie O. and screams “Mommy! Mommy!” He is a college graduate calling out to his mommy. When I watch that video, I wonder if he let her spit shine his cowlick before he walked the stage. Did Jackie O. feel a sense of relief that John-John was able to even walk across the stage because of her diligent scurvy prevention? Did you feel done Jackie? Being a single parent makes me question these things. I now have no one on this earth who feels the same way I do about my children. I find that grandparents are useless. Grandparents act as if their grandchildren are…everything. Well, I can’t speak for all grandparents but I can tell you Mary Ann is useless in this department. She, as I believe all grandparents do, believes that my kids are infallible. My mother doesn’t have a care in the world when it comes to my children. Mary Ann believes that they will be just fine, hunky dory, in fact. She doesn’t even worry about the impending scurvy threat. Grandparents see their offspring’s offspring as capable, self-reliant, respectable citizens. They have no idea what being a parent is. That last statement might be a bit of an exaggeration. So until my mother is able to worry more about my children, I will continue to throw oranges at them in hopes of saving their lives and maybe one day they will thank me.