Monday, August 13, 2007

Worry doesn't make anything better

I've been concerned about daughter number 1 in recent days, who is on the verge of making a huge change in what she's doing and where she's living. I believe it is a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say, and have encouraged her to make the changes --

But she's also been struggling with some personal stuff and is, I believe, somewhat fragile -- although I keep hoping that the assertive three-year-old who put her little hands on her hips, glared at me and emphatically directed, "You cook!" is in there someplace and is waiting to come back out.

What has been scary is that she's 2000 miles away and I haven't been able to reach her by phone or e-mail. Like so many others of her generation, she does not have a land line, just a cell phone. And she's been using her work cell phone in recent months, allowing the other to expire, and has just quit her job. Although she has Internet service, her email addy (through a domain name) is no longer valid. Bottom line: she's been unreachable at a time when all these changes require some communication with her dad and me to make them happen.

I've really done a fairly good job of not getting wrapped around the axle for the most part, but as I get tired and the day is at a close, my over-active imagination overpowers my rational self, and boy-howdy, it's off to the races.

I've stifled it enough to sleep soundly, thanks be. And I've been so busy during the day with various writing assignments that I haven't obsessed to the point of paralysis. But I've sure done a lot of talking to the Universe about it.

She's okay. Through my own persistence and the Internet, I managed to find some contact info for a friend she's spending a lot of time with, and sent him a message. I talked with her tonight. I hope communication will get better so that we can make this move happen.

Accepting adult children for who they are is very hard to do sometimes, especially when their behaviors seem to put them at some risk, or they make choices that seem to lead them down the most difficult paths when another appears to be so much more beneficial (okay, okay -- so I think I know what way might at least be easier and better for them -- controlling? Moi???)

I worry. I want my children to be happy, to have enough money to pay their bills and live in a decent place and to have regular, nutritious food, to enjoy life, to have a normal life. I don't want them to allow others to take advantage of them, to spend all their resources caring for some deadbeat guy who will never be in a position to take care of them.

I want them to be okay. I don't want to be afraid when the phone rings at night or early in the morning that I'm going to hear some horrible news. And I have been, justified or not.

The key to dealing with their mistakes and my fears is to let go. I am powerless over people, places, and things, including my daughters. They get to make mistakes, life-changing ones even, and no amount of worry is going to change anything for either of us. I can offer advice (oh, yeah, I do, but I've even cut that waaaayyyy back, believe it or not). We are no longer offering money -- not a good solution, we've found out the painful way. Sometimes we offer help to accomplish a goal -- but we've learned to draw our boundaries too, unfortunately.

But worry: it's about as useless as guilt. Neither of them help. The only person they imact is the worrier -- me -- in lost sleep, increased stress, and time.

I'm appealing to their angels: guard and protect this child. Guide her safely through this maze. Help her find happiness. And grant me serenity. Please. Again.

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