Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Writing 101, Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page – What Do I Fear

on June 24, 2014

Each one had been longed for and wondrously delivered to my care – for a season.
Ever since they were three teenagers,
Out exploring and claiming their world,
I’ve known that my greatest fear is losing a son.

I have memories of mishaps.

The time I closed the garage door automatically from the kitchen
And when I reopened it out came my son riding on his Big Wheel.
Thank goodness I hadn’t closed the door on him.

Or when one son, horsing around outside, pushed his brother into a window-well,
Breaking the silence of our adult evening meal with the crash of glass splintering.
No one was hurt.

Or the time a son, sledding on a neighborhood hill, colliding with rocks at the bottom,
Appeared at our door, dazed, carried in the kind arms of a stranger,
Bleeding stanched by the man’s clean white handkerchief.

I’m not afraid of mishaps.
Only later did I begin to taste fear.

Following his own trail in the Alleghany Forest, my teenage son got separated from his dad overnight on a camping trip.
A telephone call reported his loss to me. Rangers and dogs were searching.
Meanwhile my lost son, happening upon a dirt road, walked along and found his searchers.
He maintained that his dad was the lost one. He knew where he was. No one was afraid but me.

Another son, a newly-minted college graduate, went West to seek his fortune.
Luggage lost by airline, sleeping on the couch of friend too poor to afford a phone,
Trying to set up job interviews on a pay phone, no luck there,
Coming down with mono, coming back home. This time I wasn’t afraid, but my heart ached dreadfully.

My youngest son was still at home when I left him in his father’s care to spend weeks away pursuing a new degree.
I never imagined mothers were so necessary. He let me know. He acted out.
He and a friend took a screw driver to break into the Junior High building. They set off the alarm, calling the police.
Police turned them over to the Principal, who disciplined them ordering Community peer counseling. My son taught me a new lesson about fear.

My first reaction to my son’s acting out was to give up going back to school and go home. I was afraid of not being a good mother.
I thought further and decided that his being the catalyst for my giving up my dream was a burden I didn’t want him to carry.
That was a huge step for me – trusting I loved him, and myself, enough to make this decision.
I let go of being afraid of marching to my own drumbeat.

My sons are grown. I still fear for their well-being and disappointments, whatever lies ahead. But I trust life and their ability to manage its challenges.
And I celebrate what we’ve taught each other about fear.

19 responses to “Writing 101, Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page – What Do I Fear

  1. Meredith says:

    Every mother’s fear.

  2. granonine says:

    Yup. I have three sons. Been there, done that.

  3. Redg Camarse says:

    Reading your blog always makes me appreciate my mom more and more. πŸ™‚ As a teenager (at heart, haha!) I get so caught up in my own world that I sometimes forget that my parents miss me or would like to know what’s happening in my life. πŸ™‚ This is a lovely entry. And I hope your sons will always be okay. πŸ™‚

  4. vivachange77 says:

    Thank . I’m glad my writings make you appreciate your mom. Thanks for your thoughts about my sons. The mix of moms, children, grandparents\ – women stuff – is endearing in our posts

  5. Karuna says:

    I’m glad you chose to follow your own career rather than put your fear on your son. Great modeling.

    As a mother, I certainly understand that fear of losing a child.

    When I wrote my post about my hippie years the other day, I found myself developing increased compassion for my mother and her fear and frustration. Interesting to experience after all these years.

    • vivachange77 says:

      Thanks for supporting my decision to follow my own path. Recently on Mother’s Day I thought about my own mother who died when I was 35 and realized how much she loved me. I guess mothers pass things onto children that neither is aware of at the time. A lovely line.

  6. Scott says:

    Outstanding. Written from the gut, so to speak.

  7. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks. I’ve discovered my posts that really connect with people are written from my gut. Head stuff, especially using unlikely words, is fun, but no cigar.

  8. Enjoyed reading about your life and being a mom to your 3 sons ,when I see your words here on the page it mirrors lots of similar fears and joys and hopes I had myself when the children were younger , you write so well even though you have only mentioned a handful of events a really full life emerges from your writing here , great accomplishment;as often when I write about an event and read it back it seems so small on the page and may encompass a couple of years for me,then I get frustrated; so it is lovely to see how you have created such depth and colour and fullness in your piece here , love your blog and looking forward to reading more.
    Kind Regards Kathy.

  9. vivachange77 says:

    Thank you so very much for your in-depth comment. I’m planning to write some longer posts in the New Year and you give me encouragement.

  10. misskutts says:

    Amazing. I’m officially stalking your blog *cough*.
    Motherhood’s haunting expectations and the weighing scales inherent in family; a great piece of realism.

    • vivachange77 says:

      Thank you, miss kutts. And do you know that having three sons going on fifty hasn’t changed motherhood for me, at least in the depths of my heart.

      • misskutts says:

        My god! And you’re still at this blog? I apoligize for the ageism, it’s just you’re setting really inspiring goals here.

  11. vivachange77 says:

    I only started it a year ago! One of my sons said “Mom you should start a blog”. And another son’s eleven year old son walked me through setting up my blog on WordPress because he had recently begun his own. I don’t mind ageism. That journey is a big part of my life these days. I feel ageless when I write. I discovered the poet in me while I was taking Writing 101. ❀

  12. JoHanna Massey says:

    This is just an excellent essay. I find myself often asking ‘What is my role here?’ when the now middle aged ‘child’ is in the midst of some challenge. Always and forever the Mom, with all of the concern, interest, and desire for only the best for my child, and now Grandchildren. I agree with you that trusting life is vital, and that trust usually is often born of many years experience raising those now middle aged adults through just the kind of situations you described so eloquently. Thank you. 🐞

    • vivachange77 says:

      You are welcome, JoHanna. Being a mother seems to never lessen in importance. My middle age sons are living with challenges that engage me. I’m getting better at letting go while they work things out for themselves. I love my grandchildren but I think my sons will always be my strongest bond.

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