Those Sleepless Nights...

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

Who said that emotional freedom would come when our children had grown up? Maybe it was nobody, for it sure isn't true.

You know, when our children are growing up, we envision this wonderful time when they will be young adults, vibrant and successful, living a life that will leave us the room to enjoy our own to the max, and allowing us to finally do what we had always hoped to: live the life of leisure.

I can vividly remember when my children were little, and I was having sleepless nights, first when they were teething, then when they had a cold; and later when they had skinned their knees while romping with others from the neighborhood. And then the teenage years came, and the rebellion started, varying from running off for a day or two, to being caught by the police for racing on off-the-road motorcycles, or hanging out with friends of whom I just knew that they were the worst influence since the plague.

And through all those years and all those sleepless nights I was dreaming of the day when they would be in their twenties and I would be free from worrying. Whatever happened? They are now , indeed, all finding their way through life: one as an entrepreneur, and two still studying while trying to find a niche to specialize in. And every time when something is not right, the telephone rings, and my heart sinks.

It amazes me how intense my moods are still depending on the well-being of my children: No matter how great things look for me, if they are unhappy or ill, I am too. And the sleepless nights continue.

Oh I know: once they're out of your nest you have but half (or less than that) of a clue what is all going on in their lives, but the little bit you know, and what your intuition tells you, are usually enough to die a thousand deaths.

And yes, I do realize that worrying doesn't make things any better, not for me, and not for them. But the visions just keep appearing, and they won't let me be.

"Learning to let go," has been the advise many, including myself, have uttered time and again. But just how, really, do you do that when you have offspring? How far can you turn them loose? And how ignorant can you be toward their whereabouts?

In totally insane moments I have considered moving to a deserted island, and shut myself off completely from knowing anything at all. I reasoned that you can't be hurt by what you don't know. But I'm not sure if that's a good idea after all, so I guess I'm not totally insane yet: At least not all the time.

So, what is the essence of this write up? Maybe it's a call for young adults to realize what they are getting into when they consider starting a family. I am not saying that having children is a curse, as I would not exchange mine for anything in the world or beyond. But I am definitely hinting that those who remain childless should not be too heartbroken over it, as they face a relatively stress free life compared to the ones who are "blessed" with offspring.

And to those who do have children, especially young ones, this article may be a reminder to enjoy every moment of their childhood, because it will be over before you blink.

To those who are in similar positions as I am, with children at the ages of young adults, keep dreaming and praying, if you belief. This stage, too, shall pass.

And, finally, to those who have older kids, like my own parents do: well, I guess the advise should be the same: keep dreaming and praying, if you belief. This stage, too, shall pass.