If Mom & Dad Never Worried

For the trillionth time my mother asked me if I had put my leg braces on yet.
"Yessssugggghhhh" I whined.
"If you want to play in the snow, you need to put your leg braces on!" She piped from outside the bathroom door. I glowered at the door, my eyes shot x-ray beams of irritation and frustration. My snowsuit was only half-way pulled up, the velcro straps of my leg braces were pointing in every which direction, by the time I was able to stuff myself in the puffy nylon I probably looked like the Michelin Tire guy. I was old enough to not need help getting dressed, but young enough to still enjoy flapping my arms into a snow angel.

Every time I became frustrated with one of my parents' hovering-frets, their suffocating nervousness, their nail biting anxieties, and broken-record commentary I think: What if mom and dad didn't worry about me? 

Imagine if every time I got into the car, my parents didn't also throw the words "seat belt!" over their shoulders with the snacks and juice boxes. My brothers and I would have been free to slide into each other in the backseat, colliding against the side of the doors, our bodies would look like bobble head dolls that belong on the dashboard. Imagine if every year school began, my mom didn't send me with a plastic bag of slings and ace bandages. I would have had to spend even more time explaining to the school nurse exactly what not to do. If my parents didn't worry about every friends' birthday party outing I attended, I could have flung myself onto trampolines, dove head first into ball pits, or tried swinging from the monkey bars. Could you even fathom that day my parents hadn't attended every single IEP or 504 meeting with a laundry list of questions, demands, and concerns? Maybe I wouldn't have turned out to be such a nerd. Maybe so, but I definitely wouldn't have learned how important an education is. What about when it was time to go to middle school, and my parents never turned ghost-white at the idea of me zooming through halls of bulky backpacks and reckless teens? Would I have realized what it meant to balance my health and social-life? Probably not. If mom and dad didn't ask the surgeon about all the other side-effects or options, would I have realized that even scariest moments have options and choices? That it is ultimately my choice on how to manage my healthcare? Probably not.

If my parents didn't worry about me I wouldn't have known what is important, what is necessary, what it takes to succeed, and to be independent. Maybe I would have eventually figured it out, but even so I wouldn't have been as certain as a person - who I am and what I want. I'm not, even today, certain of who I am as a person and what I want - but I do have an inkling, I've got a map that I have the freedom to follow or not follow. This isn't a map that was created for me just because I was born and exist; it's a map that started somewhere and by someone, so much of this outline was done by my parents' efforts in raising my brothers and I. If my parents didn't worry about me I would have had to do much of this outlining myself. It would have taken me more work and struggle to figure out where the boundaries are, where the ocean meets the land, or where undiscovered places still remain.

My parents worried about me so that I could be safe and healthy. They worried so that I would have the freedom to pursue my goals, as successfully as possible. Mom and dad worried because they cared and regardless of how annoying, or ridiculous I appeared during the process of their worrying -- I am a better and happier person because of it!

"Mom I'm done!! Get my walker, I am outta here! Did Timmy already go outside??" I waddled out in full Michelin Tire get-up, excited to add another fun snow day to my memories.

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