Anyone with children knows that “worry” is the glue that binds a parent to their child. Multiply this times ten if you are a mother.
I have three children. All beautiful, all smart, all talented. You know, all those glowing adjectives you would expect a mother to use when describing her children. One of my children, however, tends to be a wee more reckless than the other two. This would be the oldest. This would be the boy. This would be my son, Sean.
Why does the firstborn child feel they have to be the leader of the pack, the trailblazer? When he was young, he was a bit more cautious, not so sure he wanted to join the others diving off the diving board, riding the giant rollercoaster. And then something happened. He DID ride that giant rollercoaster, and ever since he believes he can do anything. Skydiving. Yes, did that one. Bungee jumping. Yup. Canyoning…sliding over waterfalls where previous dare devils have been killed. Fortunately, he told me all about these after the fact. Yes, in some instances, ignorance is bliss. So when Sean started a blog, quit his secure, 8-5 desk job and moved to Thailand to follow his dream, I wasn’t too surprised. Was I gonna miss him? Yes indeedy. Was I proud? You betcha. Was I gonna worry. Duh, see the opening sentence. Did I think he would be safe? Well yes, it’s Thailand. Paradise. Not Iraq, not some fascist regime. I knew there was a little skirmish down there, something about colored shirts, red, yellow.. whatever.
Sean assured me he would be safe. And for the first four months he was. All the uproar was across town, or so he told me. Then he was tear-gassed. I think he thought of this as an adventure, a story to blog about. He told me repeatedly, “I’m safe Mom, everything is happening in a different part of the city.” He can be very convincing. I believed him. My worry-meter remained in the “no panic” zone. Then he called me late one night and he had that tone in his voice that signaled he wanted to chat about something. Apparently, he wrote a blog post titled, “Bangkok, Dangerous.” He was warning me about what he was about to send out into cyberland for everyone to read. He thought maybe he should warn his worry wart mother first. At this point, I’m screaming “Are you SAFE?” “I am now.” Again. After the fact. He then told me the night before, he went to sleep with on-going riots outside his apartment. With GUNFIRE! But, not to worry he’s safe now. Of course he is.
Sean! Leave the country! Do not pass Go! Do not collect $200! Claim your “get outta jail free” card and leave the frickin’ country! “I’ll leave if it gets worse.” Worse? Worse? This is where I start to wonder if Sean is my smartest child… I went to sleep that night, or I should say I tried to go to sleep, with this information swirling around in my head. It got worse. His neighborhood was burned to the ground. Shopping malls burned. Stock exchange burned. The newspaper, television stations, all flattened. Red shirts and yellow shirts clashing making blood orange shirts.
He called me from the airport when I woke up. He’s leaving. Going to Manila. Thank you God. The next time I talked with him he was safe in the Philipines, drinking a beer by the marina, staring at the pretty boats. “I’m so happy you got outta there, Sean, and never have to go back.” “Oh, I’m going back. As soon as it settles down, I’m going back…” Beautiful, talented… and STUBBORN child, whom I love.