Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fear Itself

The older your children get, the harder it is to be a parent. Tomorrow night I’m going to put my younger son John (age 19) on a plane to Boston to visit my older son Brian (almost 21).

Brian’s taking a course at BU and sharing an apartment in Brookline for the summer. It’s his first experience living off campus and his first summer away from home. He’s learning to live on a shoe-string, and he’s having the time of his life. Every week or so he calls or sends me an email to thank me for making this happen. (We have a deal. I paid his tuition, and I’m helping him with rent and living expenses. In exchange, he’s promised to do the same for my grandchildren someday. Every kid his age should spend a summer in a place like Boston.)

I’m not sure whether John purchased his own plane ticket or he had help from my ex. His flight departs at 8p, and he’ll arrive in Boston very late tomorrow night - so late that Brian’s expressed some concern about getting from the airport to his apartment at that hour. He’s dependent on public transportation. Logan Airport is not in the best part of town. (Brian mentioned something about a tourist getting shot by a roving gang recently.) He wants to be frugal and take the subway. I’m sending cab money with John.


I’ve worked with victims of crime (domestic violence and survivors of homicide) for years, and I can tell you from experience that Churchill got it wrong. There’s more to fear than fear itself. Bad things happen – ask anyone who’s been to Iraq or Afghanistan or knows someone who has.

When confronted with any situation that might incur risk, my sons have been taught to ask themselves this critical question: Would it scare my mother if I do this? If the answer is “yes” DON’T DO IT.

Needless to say, I’ll be counting the hours until they call to tell me they’ve reached Brian’s apartment in safety. (BOYS, FOR GOD’S SAKE PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO CALL THIS TIME.)

Thank goodness for knitting. It’ll help me stay calm (sane) in the meantime. That, and maybe a glass (or two) of pinot grigio.

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