Uncontrollable Mothering: Episode #3 in a sporadic series*
There are times in a mother’s life when the primal mothering instinct can suddenly take over your mind and body. There is no forewarning and no way to stop yourself. You have no conscious control over what you do. This can occur whether your child is small enough to burp over your shoulder–-or large enough that you don’t even come up to his shoulder. It can happen whether your child is across the room or across the globe. In fact, uncontrollable mothering can even take over when it’s someone else’s child. Beware. This could happen to you.
My kids are both legal adults; truth be told, most of the time they’re more responsible than I am.
I figured I would have outgrown this by now. You’d think that after losing my breasts and my ovaries, I wouldn’t be producing enough female hormones to make much mischief. But those maternal molecules that magically kicked in the day I became a mother just refuse to give up.
So this kind of stuff still happens.
My first fall as a freshman, I got in a car with a group of older guys and we drove 8 hours from Ithaca to New Haven to the Cornell/Yale football game. I don’t remember telling my parents. Since we had no cell phones, I probably was back in my dorm after the weekend by the time I mentioned the trip during my regular weekly call home. My parents probably said something like: “Sounds great.”
Daniel’s experience was a little different.
I was happy for him when he mentioned recently that he and a group of friends were planning to drive from Wisconsin to an out of state football game. And then I sort of forgot about it. This is the new less-neurotic me, Zen-Mom.
I was sick; I was busy; happy in my oblivion—until I talked to Daniel the night before he left Madison. I was also leaving town , so I happened to be obsessively checking the weather in New York where I am headed. A few clicks and I was suddenly checking the weather where Daniel was headed.
I couldn’t stop myself.
This is not healthy behavior for a Jewish mother.
So I don’t really have an excuse for the following exchange of emails at 1 a.m. :
Sweetheart, I’m so excited for you that you’re going to an away football game. I really want you to have these wonderful college experiences. (notice how I soften him up and make it appear I’m on his side. ) I happened to check the weather and notice that the forecast is for steady rain in Madison—-and rain in the whole upper midwest—for the entire weekend. Isn’t it a 4-hour drive? It doesn’t sound like you will have much fun sitting out there at a football game in the rain. Are you sure you want to go?
I thought it was rather subtle.
The return text came back in 3 seconds. Consisting of 3 words.
I’ll be fine.
Lucky for me I couldn’t see the eye rolling.
*(I’ve noticed these episodes seem to happen more frequently when children are paired with moving vehicles)