Worrying is second nature to a parent. If you are a parent and things don’t not seem right to you if you find yourself NOT worrying at any given moment, then this is your story. The inspiration for this story was a narration from a “worrying” mom. 

A night before her son’s qualifying test for a new school, this mother had her own nail biting moments while the son played cool dude. The next morning was no different. The mom worried throughout while running through the morning chores. The boy roamed around doing things as he would do on any other day. At the breakfast table, she checked if the boy had packed everything needed for the test. He was busy smearing butter and orange marmalade on his crunchy sourdough toast. He glanced at her as if he was being interrupted from something more important and remarked, “I have everything. Don’t worry Mom!” 

They did not speak much during the car ride but the worrying and not worrying continued. It pierced through the silence in the car. But no one said anything aloud. At the venue, she gave her a “do your best hug” and he gave back a “do not worry hug.” He waved and walked in smiling as if he was all set to conquer the world. She sat in the hallway knowing she had two hours to kill…two hours to fret…..two hours to worry. 

A book, some WhatsApp conversation, some FB time, some random picture taking later she figured she was still worrying. So she called her own Mom. 

“Hi Ma! I just called to check on you. How are you doing?” 

“What really is the matter?” (Never easy to fool a mom, is it)

“Nothing much. The boy is inside writing his test. I was just sitting here worrying if he will get through.” 

“There is nothing wrong with worrying. You are a parent, you have got to worry. I need to go back to my vegetable stew.” The line was disconnected. The message had been conveyed. 

Caffeine helps in such moments of stress. She looks up a nearby café on her smartphone, finds her way and gets herself a cup of joe and a donut. Sugar further helps de-stress. A friend calls and they laugh about worrying all the time, the toll it takes and yet they cannot give up worrying. While sipping through her coffee, she re-confirms with another parent about her daughter’s after-school pickup, checks in with the piano teacher and looks up the venue of the baseball match that weekend. She has done all of this before. But she does it again. That is what she has gotten used to. Confirming and then re-confirming and then confirming again! 

Then she took the phone and took some more random pictures – of the cafe, donut, coffee mug and the street in front. The camera in mobile phones is the greatest invention of the past few decades. If not anything, it allows you to while way time creatively. Capturing anything that you wish to. Thus allowing you a few less seconds of worrying.

A random shot of the street, taken from the phone while at the cafe
The sugar settles in and sparks a renewed sense of energy, even if it is momentary. She drives back to the venue. The two-hour wait is almost coming to an end. As she walks in, she finds the hallway crowded with more people like her. More parents. More worrying parents. They all look like twins with the similar look of anxiety plastered on their faces. 

The bell rings. The young people start trickling out of the hall. Smiling, skipping a step or two, having animated conversations. They seem to have had a good time inside. She finds him in the crowd. He is walking towards her and grinning ear to ear like he does everyday when she picks him up from the school. Even before she can say something, he says aloud, “Mom, can we get some lunch? I am super hungry.” 

Almost as if reading her mind, he adds a few seconds later, “The test was good. I told you there was nothing to worry.”

They head out to the nearby café. Over a lunch of pita sandwich, milkshakes, and more donuts, the boy asks her, “So what did you do for the two hours, Mom?” She smiles to herself because she knows the answer does not make any sense. She knows she should not have worried, but she still did. So she tells him “I came and sat here for a while and had a donut.” 

“That’s cool! At least you did not worry all the time.”

Authored By : Piya Mukherjee Kalra, Narrated By : Annoymous “Worrying” Mom