Fretting is what I intended to write and post about last Wednesday. But when the ‘post now’ clock ran out of time on Wednesday evening, I was so tired, yes, worn out from fretting in fact, that I could only offer somewhat inane sentences about tired parsley and soup.
Is fretting different from worrying? And where do fear and the burden of responsibility fit into the equation? What equation? Ah, just a ‘turn of phrase’. Those expressions that fill my conversation and writing voice are often an enticing distraction. Where did they come from? What was their original meaning?
And why do I consider them a distraction? Am I not free to follow my thoughts as they come and wherever they lead me? Which brings me back to the topic of fretting and the heavy-handed ‘shoulds’ (and should-not’s) of my life. So, what do I fret about? Often I am responding to a perceived ‘should’; a sense of being responsible to or for something or someone. Care taking is one way to put it. The sense (belief) that I must help or fix; I reflexively take on the tsoris of others. And fret.
I’m sorry, Mom… Friday was your birthday and I missed you terribly, perhaps more than at any time since the numb days and weeks right after you died. I’m sorry, but my memories of fretting about others begin with you. So miserably unhappy you were, or so it seemed to my little child soul, that I could not live without taking on the burden of trying to make you okay. It continued that way, all your life, Mom, right down to your final days. At which time I was handed the utterly thankless task of caring about and for your husband, my father. Those were really miserable years for me.
He’s gone now and I have arrived at today. My reflexive care taking was illuminated and revealed, highlighted by my mother’s departure. It has been reduced, that is, the globalized part of it… I no longer feel compelled to take care of every T D & H that crosses my path. My own child is becoming a woman and it is to her benefit (therefore I will do it) for me to step back and care take her less. I believe that I can only do that convincingly if I train myself to fret less about her and her life – her future is hers.
Next question: What does that mean?