professional status

my mini says that worryin' is my hobby. she's wrong about this. designin' doo dads for delivery via download is my hobby...worryin' is my full-time job. i have lots o experience at it as i started practicin' the art very early on.

i think i was like most kids - not a care in the world...until i hit the age where i realized something bad could happen to my mother. this is hard for any child but when it happened to me, my mom worked the late shift as a nurse at orange memorial hospital. orange was the town next to ours and was about a fifteen minute trip with the view offerin up not much but the cemetery bout halfway between and a few houses sprinkled along the dark two lane road.

after backin' our old chevrolet outta the gravel driveway, she would drive to the end of our street, turn left and then drive a short way til she'd hit the intersection o round bunch and texas avenue - the main drag where one of the three traffic lights in our town dangled above. here she'd turn left, head over the cow bayou bridge and then it was a straight shot til she turned into the hospital parkin' lot.

layin' in bed next to the open window, i would try to listen for her car as long as possible and when i couldn't any longer, i'd start prayin and makin' all sorts o deals with god if he would just let her make it all that way without anything bad happenin to her. i would force myself to stay awake, starin in the dark at the blue clock radio between me and queenie's twin beds, until enough time had passed for her to be nursin' some sickly person or for the police to call tellin us she had been in an accident. i hadn't yet realized that bad things also happened durin the daylight hours or that there were horrible diseases that could strike grown-ups AND children without warnin so i would wake up the next mornin' and set aside my worryin' until my mom left for work again that night.

this nightly ritual continued until i reached the body snatchin' years where my concerns, in the dark or light, were all about me. a body snatcher feels nothin' bad can happen to them worse than not bein popular or not havin the right thing to wear and i didn't worry about either of these as i was popular therefore whatever i wore was the right thing for me to be wearin. unfortunately i have failed at teachin this to mini who spends way too much homework time fillin the floor with piles o hangerless clothes, while attemptin to find 'the right thing'.

most girls are allowed to keep the body snatcher workin at full force at least til they leave their teen years altho a few end up keepin their body snatchin ways thru-out the rest o their life. we all have known some who have and may even have a few as close relatives. my own body snatchin' years came to an abrupt end the summer before my senior year durin a bike ride with my best friend debbie and queenie's friend karen. ridin in a single file, just feet from turnin off o texas avenue and only a few minutes from arrivin home, a big truck driven by a man who had just knocked back a few drinks at the 'bamboo hut' ( the only place to knock back a few in our small town), ran over all three of us. we were all taken to orange memorial hospital, capable o carin for my broken back. my friend's injuries were deemed more serious and they were taken to a larger hospital nearby. weeks passed before i was told that neither debbie or karen survived.

this tragic event changed who i was and would always be. and while it didn't cause me to be fearful of bad things happening to me in the future, it did cause a previous night-time hobby to begin again as my full-time job. since then i am always worryin' about somethin bad happenin to the people i love...or know..or have met or may meet or seen a picture of or have ever been born. i worry about bad things happenin to anybody. over the years, the level of this worryin has been higher at some times and lower at others but has always been a constant in my life. so much so that i doubted i would ever be able to be someone's mother as worryin about my child would keep me from doin the motherin they needed at the same time. fortunately, the bliss that i experienced once my prince charmin appeared enabled me to stop worryin long enough to make mini. of course the minute i found out she was in the makin, i resumed my previous worryin state and when she arrived 5 weeks early and i was officially defined as someone's mother, i found out what real worryin was. all that i had done before was nothin compared to mother worry.

the problem with worryin about somethin happenin to your child is...just when you get a handle on the things you are worried about happening to em, everything changes and you have to re-organize to keep a new set of em straight. you also have to keep your spouse lectured about it all and this is tough cause most of them aren't too good at it - at least mine isn't. you also have to have all the 'nags' practiced and ready to fly outta your mouth when needed. a perfect example o this is last summer when a friend o mini's invited her over for the afternoon. when we arrived, the girl met us at the car and had her swimsuit on. although mini hadn't said they were goin swimmin, bein a pro, i was prepared with the slew of 'nags' to be recited in this situation. when i turned off the car and said i'd come in for a minute to say hi to the girl's mom (and then have a chance to leave some o my 'nags' with her), the friend announced that she wasn't home and wouldn't be til late that night and then told mini they were gonna go swimmin at the university pool down the street. mini was back home and listenin to some new naggin' before she knew what happened to her. i hadn't realized it was time for addin 'parentless home invite' to the worry and naggin list. since then i try to look even further into the future so that i am even more prepared for what i should be worryin about.

i made a big mistake with mini that i wish i could undo. i have entertained her through-out her life with tales of my previous life...dates with dashin daredevils that led to some death defyin' days....danglin' on ropes from big boulders high above the ground, kayakin' down fast and freezin' rivers, crash landin a plane on a county club golf course and bein' run over by a drunkin driver....to name just a few. she has come to think of her mother as brave and capable o doin just about anything. this is why she can't understand why sayin' the words 'when can i hang out with my friends at the mall?' puts a fear into me like nothin i have ever felt. i am sure there are words i'll be hearin in the future even more frightenin'...but these have been weighin heavily upon me since they fell outta her mouth recently.

i have spent a good deal o time ponderin' this query. i realize my full-time worryin job causes me concern where maybe there should be none...i sometimes - though not too often - wish i could be more like mini's daddy. most o the time he seems not to have a care in the world. he attributes this to the fact that he's just like an 'etch-a-sketch' - says he wakes up each mornin and just shakes his screen clear o anything that happened before and starts all over with a clean slate. knowin this is how my child's father starts each day may be why i continue to take my full-time worryin job as seriously as i do.

anyway...i'm sure there are plenty o pre-teen body snatchers spending long hours hangin out in the malls across america that make it back home in one piece. just the same, after all my ponderin', i finally answered mini's question about when she could hang out at the mall...i told her she was free to join her friends at the mall o her choice when she was able to earn the money to buy her own car to drive herself there and once there, she could buy anything she wanted with whatever she had left after buyin' the car. i'd like to think this will be the end o this subject but in my professional opinion i worry it won't be.

the art i blogged up for your entertainment today was part o mini's holiday haul. lately she refuses to wear anything but vintage clothing and for christmas she wanted santa to add to her personal collection. 'he' purchased many wonderful things for her from ebay (wish there was a way to do that without it takin' so much time - i already have a hobby and my full-time worryin to do and this ebay thing took time away from both!) but many didn't make it in time to wrap and put under the tree....so i made a bit of a scrapbook for her...with pictures of her wearin the vintage clothin' (usin' the teeny shots from ebay) along side some of her favorite people. it ended up bein better than if the actual dresses had made it on time and since the packages have been arrivin' all month, it's been alot more fun.

thanks so much for stoppin by - i do so hope to get my bloggin goin more often...i promise i have it on my list o things to worry about!


wings said...

mo, this is your best piece of writing ever. if someone handed it to me to edit, I don't think I'd change a word.

I can sympathize with many of your situations... I grew up on gravel roads outside a 1-stoplight town, I road my bike with friends across a state highway with my heart pounding, I have a 14-year old full of why-can't-I-all-my-friends-do, gave birth to the twins early and had to hold them in the NICU with wires and tubes attached to their tiny little bodies... Although I know that those types of experiences had a different effect on your life (and so many things are different from my life), I wanted to let you know that at some level I relate to those experiences and my heart is heavy. It's hard to think of friends--even those you've never seen face-to-face--having to go through such hard things, and realizing just how darned lucky we are to have you here with us.

I worry like crazy. I have OCD, and it primarily affects my worryin' center. I worry about things that I know make no sense at all or couldn't possibly happen, plus all the other things that might-could happen. I spend a good part of each day (and night) concerned that somehow one of my babies is going to be taken away from me.

I'm sorry you worry so much, but I'm glad you are who you are. Kids are capable of understanding (just a smidgen) that moms have learned lessons about life, just like lessons about algebra & English, and are applying those lessons to their child's life. And you know what, not all moms worry lovingly about their kids--some kids get to hang out at the mall 'cause their parents don't understand what could happen, or understand but aren't as concerned at they ought to be.

And tell that sweet girl she's lucky that she has you for a mom, and not me--'cause I not only wouldn't let her go to the mall, I wouldn't let her use MySpace, either!


Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer that you never know true love or true pain until you have children. I used to never have a care in the world until Chris was born. It really changes the core of who you are. I find myself spending every day worrying that I will not be here to watch him grow up....especially since the last round of doctor diagnosing. When other mother's tell me I am being too over protective or joke about losening the apron strings, I laugh and say I would rather be safe than sorry. So don't worry so much about NOT letting her go places or do things that might not be safe......you can start worrying when she is old enough to go do them without your permission! I've decided I am not going to let Chris turn 18. At 17 and 11 months I am going to lock him in the basement. ;)

I used to laugh at my mother when I was a teen about her worrying and thinking how old fashioned she was and that I could certainly take care of myself and she would always say that someday I would understand and that she only hoped she lived to see my children worry me the way I did her...well, she got her wish. ;)


Tracy said...

I am so sorry about you losing your friends in such a tragic way but I am so happy that you made it, broken back and all. (I'd always figured it had happened while on a date with one of the daredevils and whilst clad in a leather daredevil suit).

Mini is indeed blessed to have both you and prince charmin and to get a blend of the worryin' type and the Etch-a-sketch type. I was raised by the Canadian Champ Worry-Wart and her husband, the firefighter. I am thankful that they never let me get into a car with someone else because my dad had scraped so many kids up off the road. I grew up being careful (until my body snatcher teen years when I am just lucky that I made it out 3D and not flat). In later years my nickname was 'Miss Safety'. It didn't really bother me and I guess it was only fitting that Macy's dad is a Safety Professional.

I think my mom and aunts do so much worrying that I tried to even things up and not worry. I worry only when I have to, but I've got fears that probably qualify as worries. There are so many nasty things happening in our world today that it's hard not to worry even about day to day things. Now when events happen in the US I'm running through my brain figuring out who of my Mo Sistahs lives close to that disaster and praying that they are okay.

None of us want to lose what's important and precious to us, so some worry is understandable. They say it only becomes a problem when it gets in the way of everyday life. So, I guess if the doo dads stop coming we'd all better worry that you're doing too much worryin' and it's time to send you on a little vacation to the mall with Mini (as long as she's on one of those little leashes they make for kids, that is)


Anonymous said...

dear mo, don't be so hard on yourself...women are suppose to worry. men seem to be able to switch off after a certain point then we have to go into overdrive.
To worry is normal...it shows that we care and value what is precious to us. Just try to go with the flow! heaps of hugs

Christa said...

oh my mo... no wonder you always have back problems.. I am just so thankful you are here today with us so you can share your talents and love of your art with us.

children do not understand when they are younger and you say no, not out of them not having fun, but trying to protect them from outside predators.. to this day it is only during the day time, and mind you extremely infrequently, that I even go to the mall by myself. if they are not buying anything I do not understand why they want to hang out there, but they do.

I understand the worry part.. sometimes if I awaken at night, I listen to see if i hear dh breathing.. you just never know, and I hope I never find out differently. I always kiss him goodbye and tell him I love him when he leaves for work in the morning, and before going to bed at night regardless if we had a little squabble. I have found you tell someone to be careful, it is not them you are worrying about but those others who are not paying attention.

after 9-11 and losing many people from my home town in the wtc, it is more important to remember to say these things and do things cautiously always.. I still feel terrible to those who say good bye or forgot and said, oh I will say it later, and then they never get that later because it will never happen.

you have every right to worry, just do not get so caught up in it, that you don't relax enough.. that in itself doesn't help the back any.

I am so sorry that you lost your friends due to that terrible incident so long ago, but they are still with you and are smiling down and are happy you are a wonderful person and are sharing yourself with so many... Hugs my dear friend... feel better and tell mini, she is very lucky to have you as a mom, and friend.. a mother / daughter close relationship is the best relationship in the world.. enjoy it even if the bodysnatchers borrow her from time to time!!~ christa

Saucy said...

The body snatchers must be working overtime these days. My Buddy is posessed, consumed by some demon who thinks we should all be listening to "better music" and the eye-rolling around here has been astounding - I'm about to send him to an optometrist to check for permanent damage.

The worrying comes so naturally. Some of us carry it all our lives and you will see a stream of "me toos" after this post of yours. Those of us who are artists and are busy documenting every little laugh and smile of our loved ones and their daily doings tend to be a little more sensitive to the thought of maybe not being near them someday and having some good memories to cling to.

I believe that my own mother "the Fan" is second runner up to Miss Tracy's All-Canadian Worry-Wort and of course this has also given me the edge in my mothering skills. I hear the Fan's voice in my head "you're not supposed to be their friend, be the parent" and yet the Fan ended up being my best friend... so I guess that worked out pretty good for all of us even though my body-snatcher days gave her a crown of gray hair and all those lines she sports on her forehad these days.

I worry about Buddy driving in his own car without me. I'd like to get him the special kind of car without a CD player, radio or some kind of speedometer that only goes to 30. I should have had one of those chips put in his ear like I did with Wrigley.

Mo I can only say that worryin' types like us usually do all of the thinkin' ahead of time so Miss Mini knows what you'll be worrying about before she does it... she'll probably hear your voice in the back of her head someday too, saying "worryin' is a mother's work"... when she worries about Mini's Mini!

Robin said...

wow... this blog post has elicited some of the longest replies ever... and understandably so! i share pam's opinion that this is one of your best ever blogs... mostly because of how it makes me feel understood. i can see i am in the very best of worryin'-myself-sick company.

i feel so bad about your young girlfriends and their families. i can feel my heart just squeezin' up tight with sadness. so every time you have a back/neck/head/shoulder/arm or other body part ache you must feel reminded of all that loss. i imagine you sometimes feel mighty grateful to be alive too. i'm sure glad you're here mo. i really, really am.

in my opinion my own mother had the oddest misguided sort of worryin'. so different from myself. she tended to worry about things like how i was "talkin' like a communist", or if i would grow up to be a bra-less hippie , or even if i was gonna switch to unfiltered cigarettes instead of the filtered ones my parents provided for me....

i worry about a wide assortment of things related to my completely grown up child. i can't begin to list them here. my newest worry is about the child within the child as rachel is about 11 weeks pregnant. now how i am gonna handle that is beyond me. all i know is that one of my mother duties is to help her not worry herself sick.... i'm kinda worried about how i am gonna manage that...

dear mo i do so love you to pieces. miss mini is a very lucky girl.

Bucksters said...

Such a beautiful piece you've written here, Mo. Have to say that I'm honored when you pour your heart out like this and share these thoughts with us. I am so sorry about the bicycle accident you went through. How traumatic that must have been to lose your friends, and it would certainly set you up for a lifetime and beyond of worrying. I also lost a good friend in high school due to a car accident, and in college I was in a very bad car accident courtesy of a drunk driver as well. Fortunately, I was alone in my car so no others were hurt. But I sustained injuries that have somewhat handicapped me for the rest of my life, and yet, I'm not much of a worrier when it comes to transportation terrors...or money issues...or health issues...

Because of this, it used to drive my mother nuts that I would rail against all her worrying about me in my teenage years & beyond. And tho I don't have any kids & have had a rocky relationship with my mother all my life, I see now that all that worrying she did was out of love & concern for me. And I carry that with me as a treasure (and have some regrets that I could not empathize with her at the time.) Mini will do the same; and in the meantime, of course you can't help worrying with all that's going on in this crazy, frightening world. What loving mother wouldn't?

Mind you, I'm not completely worry-free. My issues tend to be more along "the end of the world" concerns, i.e. nuclear war, global warming, starvation, etc. Can make for a very helpless & hopeless outlook on life, believe me. So I'll share with you a quote by the way-too-cute & adorable Mary Englebreit that I keep on my bulletin board and try to live by when I get stuck in "worry quicksand": Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.

I love that quote. And I love that you searched all over ebay to find those wonderful retro clothes for mini's Christmas gifts. What a wonderful, caring, generous mom you are, Missy Mo. Mini is very lucky to have such a role model, worry warts & all!


Leonie said...

Mo I have a quote for you " Worry is like a rocking chair it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere". After being down the road with three teenagers, I have found this quote to be very true!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mo,
I was very moved by your blog. As a Mom, I have shared some of your concerns and worries. In fact, I used to worry about worrying, but it wasn't till I became a Mom that I experienced REAL worry. It comes with the job, and it's a job you take on for life.
My daughter, now 26, used to say over and over "Maaaa-ummmm, don't worry!" I told her worry was part of my job as a Mom. Eventually she replied "Mom, you need a new job." It was pretty funny, but the concern is always there. I guess I tried to make it my goal to not express so much of my worry to her that she became afraid of life. I hope I was at least partially successful.
When nothing else works, I focus on the serenity prayer, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and say over and over to myself, "This too shall pass." So far it always has.

Anonymous said...

Tell Miss Mini that for mothers, worring is not a hobby but a life's calling...she won't understand until she's a mother herself, I know...but tell her anyway and remind her of it often.

I to had a life-altering experience at 17 Mo and I went from a carefree, it's all about me, teenager to an obsessed worry worn adult in a split second when my mother was killed in an auto accident. I had 9 younger brothers and a younger sister at the time...ages 3-16. I can still remember vividly the night terrors I used to have, the weight of the responsibility I felt for them all and how inadequate and unprepared I was to handle the job.
I made a promise to myself...which I forgot to keep when I met hubby...that I would never-ever have kids. And when I had them I quit sleeping again...catnaps only...till they were grown. Hubby has always told me that he doesn't worry about them because he knows I'm always there, standing guard, ready to handle any crisis and smack him awake if I need his help.
Mini is blessed with a loving worry-wart and I'm sure she'll do just fine...and someday be very thankful for all that worrying that you done on her behalf.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how we can all be alike in so very many ways. I too count myself among the worrier's in this world, married to a man who very rarely worries at all.

Thank you for sharing this story with us Mo, recounting your friend's untimely death must have been very difficult.

Kelly M

Ruthann said...

Darlin' girl...
They don't come with directions and we just do our best to give them what they "need" and hope we've done well.

Mini has a great heads-up on the world and before you know it,you will be worrying wbout other things more than if she's okay :)


MJ said...

Your post was very touching. I saw an exhibit at the Albert & Victoria Museum once about death and the importance of learning from each death. I had a friend and his 4 year old son killed instantaneously in a motorcycle/semi accident. My lesson from their death was to always say goodbye as I had refused to say goodbye, only to say that I would see them soon.

I have worked with many repeat young offenders. I have observed that many of these lost young people have something in common: a parent(s) who don't care or aren't able to care about what their children are up to. Mimi should be grateful that you care enough to worry about her and about what she's up to. She may not appreciate it now but she will as she matures.

Rosa said...

What a horrible thing to happen to a kid, get hit by a car and lose two friends. You are a brave soul and you have right to worry. Just don't worry yourself to death. We somehow live through so many things that we shouldn't have and it always seems worse each generation that comes into age. Hang in there Mo, before you know it, Mini will be grown and out of the house. It happens oh so quickly, by golly. What a wonderful hobby and fashionista of Mini to wear only vintage apparel. How wonderful (for her, that is).

Anonymous said...

I liked you better when you didn't have your own store. I gave up trying to get in to buy your stuff...its so hard to be a member, there are plenty of designers out there who are just as good and who are more customer friendly. I was a big fan of your work, but I gave up trying to buy it.

Shayna said...

Mo, I consider myself the world's best worrier. I can worry about anything and everything. But, I had no idea just how much worryin' there is to do until I became a grandma. My Golly Miss Molly I never realized that it would be so hard. This is my full-time job now. I worry about my siblings, my hubby, my children, my 5 grandchildren, all of my friends and all of the things happening in the world. If it weren't for scrappin' I'd go nuts ;)