Be Careful
Have Fun

August 8, 1999

I'm a worrier. I can make a mountain out of a mole hill faster then you can say Jack Robinson. I've only recently learned that I come from a long line of worriers. This is absolutely no comfort to me.

Having a child does nothing to sublimate those worrying ways. If anything, it makes the worry factor grow. Exponentially.

Wednesday morning, while sitting around waiting for my trial to start I was reading Parents. There was this article: 10 Small Steps to Being a Better Parent. What the hell, I thought, we can all be better parents. Number 6 really hit home: Imagine the best, not the worst. The part that really clenched it for me was this:

...always sending your child out of the house with a "Be careful" -- and omitting the "Have fun"--makes the whole experience of parenting less enjoyable.

This was me. In a nutshell.

In a real crisis I'm the person you want to have around. Calm in the face of blood and guts. I know CPR and first aid and I'm not afraid to use them. That's not the issue. It's the smaller stuff. The daily life kind of things: the boo boo's, the heartaches, is my daughter happy and popular, and other stuff that's really hard to articulate but is in every parents' heart.

I dropped Zoe off at school on Thursday morning. It was a morning like all others. As I was walking to my car we yelled good-bye to each other from across the play yard. Then she said, "Be careful."


Is that what I always say to her? With the article fresh in my mind I yelled back, "Have fun!". She called back, "be careful," me, "have fun." We went back and forth about five times. Then I had to leave and yelled to her that I loved her as I got in the car.

Kids say and do things that they say and see their parents do. Mine is no exception. Time outs are freely issued (mostly to Chuck), we're both admonished to go to sleep, Zoe has even asked me if I need to go potty. That stuff I can deal with.

But I don't want to pass on my propensity for worrying. It doesn't make me a happier person. Nothing positive comes from the anxiety I cause myself. I try not to inflict my angst on those around me but clearly I do.

I guess the first step is admitting you have a problem.

And, how about this new look? Thank you to all two of you who wrote with your comments. I need to know though, does this load faster, slower, about the same? Do you hate it? Love it? Don't give a rat's ass?

Lemme know.

Until next time. . .