Mommy Worry. Mommy Can’t Help It.

ducks at falls.jpgWhen you become a mom, you automatically start to morph into a sort of cosmic worry wart in ways you never thought possible before. It’s not enough to worry for yourself and your own kids; now you’ve got to worry about pestilence and famine and world peace. Every cry you hear requires your involuntary attention, and even a mug shot of a hardened criminal makes you wonder how someone could go so horribly wrong. After all, that felon was once somebody’s baby.

So now  I notice all sharp corners, even third-hand smoke, and minor chemical additives. I imagine potential disasters everywhere. In fact, the world has become one giant, slippery banana peel.

Take this winter, when we were in Gadsden for a sports tournament and decided to visit Noccalula Falls. We’d had so much rain that the falls, normally barely more than a trickle, were swollen and cascading over the rocks at full speed, crashing into a mist down below. Kids in hand, we ambled along the walking path, crossing over a foot bridge and observing the now-powerful falls from our secure perch behind tall railings.

Except I found myself distracted by these bobbing ducks, only a fast current away from the drop off of 90 feet over the falls and into the dark ravine. Didn’t they sense the danger, the noise of water colliding with rocks, the heavy, moisture-laden air?  Finally I said to my husband, “Look at those ducks! They’re getting so close to the edge. What if they tumble over?”

To which he stopped, faced me, and slowly and deliberately replied, “They’re DUCKS. They swim. They fly. That’s what ducks do. Stop worrying about the ducks.”

And this statement of the facts, so painfully obvious, released me somehow to refocus my mommy worry energies on something else, like whether I was already too far gone if I was worrying about a whole other species.