Have you ever woken up early one morning at dawn and quite unexpectedly noticed the twilight? Or some other day quite unexpectedly you saw a sunset, a starry sky, a scenery or the horizon, so beautiful, so exquisite that a shiver ran deep through your body? And you became terribly afraid that the smallest divergence would destroy it all, to the point where it is hard to get it back again?
I bet dawns and sunsets are the same on most days, beautiful and breathtaking, but we are too busy, too preoccupied with our worries and our world to notice. Or maybe some of us are in too much pain to even look around. The sun coming out, it’s not the same for me anymore. There are too many painful memories attached to it. With my loved one gone, all those years wasted working and keeping pace with the rest of the world.
When my children were younger and I was teaching full time, I used to complain about having too much work to do. I used to always wish that the days were a bit longer so that I could have a little time to myself during the day. How I longed for that little time! Because after a full day of teaching, I had to cook dinner, help the kids with their lessons and homework, drive them to ballet or football practices, give them their baths, and put them to bed after reading them their favorite bedtime stories. But still the day wouldn’t be over for me. I had to prepare for my classes and mark papers. Most nights I would be up till after midnight only to wake up early next morning to repeat it all. In order to have some time for myself, I used to set the alarm at 5:00 in the morning and have my coffee and read for one hour. That was my ‘me’ time. Some days I would be so tired. I longed for that little time, just to relax and do nothing. My mom used to tell me, “Enjoy your time now. I know you are tired but your pain is only physical. Wait till your kids are in their teens.” How could it get worse than this?
Years went by and by the time my children became teenagers, we changed continent. We moved to Montreal, Canada, a new city, a new country. Before we even settled down, both my teenagers started school. The idea of them taking the metro every day for the first time in a city they did not know, the dangers they faced being on the road every day when all their lives I had driven them to school and back gave me goosebumps. I lost sleep worrying about their safety, blaming myself for placing them in harm’s way. And as Daniel Defoe wrote:
“Thus fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself when apparent to the eyes; and we find the burden of anxiety greater, by much, than the evil which we are anxious about.”
I had nightmares every day about almost everything they did, and everywhere they went. I worried about the kind of people they would meet, the kind of friends they would associate with. Would they be able to find good friends? Would they stay out of harm’s way? And to think that this was just the beginning. Because we are now living in different times. As a parent I worry about finances, about diseases and illnesses, about bullies and sex offenders, pedophiles, drunk drivers, the internet and all the evil that lurks behind it.
How can I notice the sunrise or the sunset when I am overwhelmed with huge responsibilities? As a parent I am afraid. Maybe I worry too much, and maybe, just maybe, sometimes;
“What we want most is to be held…and told that everything …is going to be alright.” Truman Capote