I suppose that the age at which we quit worrying about our children is rather advanced; I know that I’m nowhere near it right now. Of course, I’m still rather young, so it might be that my prediction is off a bit. My suspicion is that it continues right on up until shortly before death, or maybe just after that. It’s not likely that I’ll let anyone know what I find out on that point but I am not worried about that. The world’s managed to move along for quite some time with a minimum of communication post mortem.
My current fretting regards the weather, making it even more futile than the usual parental worrying. Five of my six adult children live in the predicted path of freezing rain being sifted out by this huge winter storm that is affecting nearly all of the continental United States. Forecasts call for up to three-quarters of an inch of ice for the sections of Arkansas and Kentucky in which their families live. I’m hoping that they catch the thinner side of the prediction; I’m praying that they stay safe and warm throughout whatever comes.
It’s been decades since they were small enough and I was close enough to pick them up and move them out of harm’s way. This isn’t something that a stern warning or loving embrace can solve, settle or soothe. I’ve been through ice storms. Even though they don’t even hint of the totality of destruction of a tornado, for total scope and short-term effect, they are massive. An ice storm can paralyze an entire region, knocking out power and shutting down transportation. It can break power lines, turn roads into death zones and turn woodlands into war zones as branches and entire trees are toppled.
Our birches here near the house still carry the heavy scars of our last major ice storm from six years ago. I remember that for hours on the morning after, there wasn’t a span of five minutes that we didn’t hear heavy branches crashing to the ground. We were fortunate; we had power restored within five days. Some rural places nearby were without electricity for six weeks.
But even they survived and that is what I will focus on when the demons of imagination start taking more liberty than is warranted. I will remind myself that my children are no less resourceful, no less resilient, no less capable than I am. I will remind myself that for every situation wherein mercy seems lacking, grace is sufficient. And I will resist this nagging urge to call and check on them two hours before daylight. I’m pretty sure they will all appreciate that!