Our Story Begins:
Of Parenting And Problems.. What Makes You Worry?
What makes you worry?
I don’t mean the bills you have or haven’t paid or the laundry that needs to be done or the holes in the knees of your kids’ pants. Those are all legitimate worries, certainly, but I’m talking about that which weighs on your mind.
Ten years ago – hell, even three or five years ago – I didn’t think about my own mortality. I was never really scared that I might die. I was all set to be a producer/photographer when the U.S. decided to go into Iraq for war. I had all the shots. I had visas already signed from Kuwait, Pakistan, all those. In October of 2002, we were all set. I even went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with a reporter to shoot the buildup for the war. By November, we were supposed to be well on the way to fighting. Then we weren’t. It delayed until the beginning of 2003. I wasn’t about to face the wrath of my wife then – she was due to have our twin sons in April.
But I never thought twice about it. When the attacks happened on 9/11 I was on the way to the airport and prepped to shoot in New York until they grounded all flights and I couldn’t get there. When I moved to California, I actually considered a stint in North Africa – in 2005 – because a colleague who was in the know said this would be the uncovered and least known front of the war on terror in the not-too-distant future. I was actually looking at freelancing there until my television station group was able to transfer me to a new job.
My point is that I didn’t think about the effect this behavior had on my children. I didn’t think about the way my feeling of immortality bothered all of them. I never thought I was taking risks. Today, however, every decision looks to the cost/benefit of what I do. As it is, a story I shot recently scared the daylights out of my daughter and she waited on pins and needles until I called her on the way home.
I’ve begun recently to think about the things that are coming and things that may be out of my control. I wonder who would watch my kids when I’m gone? I know the answer, but I worry about the problems associated with what comes with my being gone.
I worry about my oldest daughter being in college. I worry as much as she does, I think, that I’m watching her slowly become her own person, not just one of “us.”
I worry what happens if I met someone down the line and had to tell my kids I wanted to date them. They haven’t all dealt with the grief of losing their mother and the stresses of daily life bring that out in other ways. I have started the whole thing from life insurance to figuring out what happens if something happens to me. If losing my wife taught me nothing, it taught me to be prepared.
I worry what my daughters will do when there’s no mom to help with that first major breakup, a wedding, a first pregnancy.
I worry what happens next, particularly if I’ve given those four kids the tools they need to succeed in life. In the real world your toolbox is filled with devices that help in you in a myriad of situations. You get those tools from various sources, not just one. So is having just your dad enough?
These are the things that have me worried.
What about you? What worries you? Is it the minutia of the day or do you see the bigger issues down the line? Are you letting your kids get the right tools from all sides, or are you insulating them?
More from GEM:
Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.