Take THAT, Worry. We are FINE.

Emergency rules, you guys. Our family has them.

I don’t know. Maybe we honed them from necessity during all the times my kids have taken a wall to the head or embedded a sewing needle in the leg or lost a fight with the monkey bars — stitches and surgeries and breaks, oh my — or maybe we developed them because I’ve always been a freaker who can’t stand emergency suspense. Go ahead and share the spoilers, I think. It’s OK; I need to know how this ends. It’s hard to say, really, whether the freak-out chicken or the emergency-rule egg came first, but, regardless, we have rules.

Calling from the hospital, for example? We must begin with “We’re fine; everything’s OK” and then – and only then – “I’m at the hospital.” And woe betide the husband who starts his call in reverse order when everything is, in fact, fine. I’m just saying.

Incidentally, this post has nothing to do with the hospital.

WE’RE FINE, friends. Everything’s OK. And I got a call from Aden’s school last week.

Hi. Beth? This is Nicole.

I like Nicole.

Hi, Nicole, I said.

Except I said it more enthusiastically, like, Hiiii, Nicole! with higher pitch and great expectation and a teeny, tiny dash of dread ‘cause, well, we might’ve had dozens of calls from Nicole in years past, and I always know it’s about to get good. And, by good, I mean always very entertaining but also sometimes bad.

Hey! Everything’s fine, Nicole said. Aden’s doing great!

Did I mention I like Nicole? I like Nicole a lot. She just intuitively understands the rules, you know? Everything’s fine.

Then Nicole told me a story because she knows I like stories, and it went like this:

Aden – I love that girl – asked Mrs. Reading Teacher today
if she can have her gold tooth when she dies.


And ha!

And I love that girl, too.

And especially Mrs. Reading Teacher for saying yes.

Yes, Aden. Of course you can have my gold tooth, she said. I’ll just let my nephew know he can exclude that from my will when I die from laughing at you.

Except she probably didn’t say that last little bit because Mrs. Reading Teacher is rad and kind and doesn’t say things that might hurt kids’ feelings, even if they’re really, really true.

Now, I will confess to you that I worry sometimes about the future. About Aden’s future. About all my kids’ futures. I despair over teaching them to have good work ethics when they seek with striking regularity to slough off chores on their siblings. I wonder whether “forgetting” homework at school for the kajillionth time is the precursor to a lifetime of deception and crime. But mostly I worry that I’m behind the curve on delivering all the life lessons, like I’m falling down on this mama job. When I worry like this, though, about a future I cannot see, I’m forgetting the bigger truth; that parenting is a cumulative endeavor that builds and builds and builds on the small foundations we create every day; it’s not a one-time, highspeed download of every life skill right now.

I tell you this story – and confession – for two very important reasons.

First because I am counting on you. Decades from now, friends, when that teacher bites the dust and Aden is arrested with pliers in hand, mining for gold, we are calling you as witnesses for the defense. Be ready.

And second, I tell you this because I need the written reminder that my worries are, as usual, both unfounded and unfair. CLEARLY, my kid is going to be fine. At age ten, she’s got her eye on gold futures and she’s proactively sourcing a supply.

Take that, Worry.

We are fine. And everything is OK.


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14 responses to “Take THAT, Worry. We are FINE.”

  1. I’m new to your blog (and haven’t had time yet to peruse your old blog posts), but I gotta say, Aden is my kinda kid. My partner is a special ed teacher and I get to hear some great kid lines, but that one takes the cake! Also, when I was a kid, my brother asked my mother (who was very sad about her ailing, much-loved, ancient Siamese cat) why we couldn’t “just stuff her and keep her in the closet when she dies”. Totally practical boy solution, provided out of caring and wanting a solution to mommy’s sadness. She cried harder. It cracked me up and still does today.

    • Welcome, Kate. So glad to have you here.

      Yes, you and I clearly share kid understanding. And please give your partner my thanks. I have lots (and lots) of experience with and adoration for the special ed teachers in our lives who give so generously to make a huge difference for whole entire families. Theirs is often thankless work. So THANK YOU. In fact, here’s a post I wrote just for the special ed teachers in my life… https://bethwoolsey.com/2012/03/happy-i-e-p-day/ Do share it if you think it will be an encouragement.

      Anyway… this? “Totally practical boy solution, provided out of caring and wanting a solution to mommy’s sadness.” TOTALLY.

      • Hey, thanks for responding to my comment. I read your IEP post to my partner who kept interrupting with “hmmmm” and nodding. You’re right, it’s often a thankless job, but awesome kids and parents like yourself totally make her day. When she comes home and says “you know X, that kid’s got such a good heart, this is what he did today…”. Or “X’s mama’s just the best, I love when she visits our classroom”. Love the “Happy IEP” cake, oy, and the animal crackers!

  2. Clearly, Aden will be just fine! I think she’s a bit ahead of the curve, even! 😉 But I completely relate to your insecurities about whether you’re imparting all the crucial life lessons to your children or not. Each day can pass in such a blur of frenzy and fatigue, and at the end of it, I often wonder if I took full advantage of every opportunity to speak meaningfully into my children’s lives. (And by “speak,” of course, I don’t necessarily mean with words.) But when worry begins to get the better of me, God usually reminds me that His grace is sufficient to make up for all my flaws and shortcomings, even where rearing my kids is concerned. Thank God for that!

  3. Two stories:
    1. My husband asked the dentist if he could take his wisdom tooth home to leave for the tooth fairy. Even though it was against the law (stupid laws!), the dentist said yes. We all laughed at Daddy’s big tooth.

    2. When I was little I asked my Grandma if I could have her doll when she died. She said, “Yes,” too. Even though she’s still living, a year or two ago she gave it to me when she was cleaning out stuff. It makes me laugh.

  4. I had to have a tooth pulled a few years ago, it had a gold crown on it. I asked if I could keep it, cause I am classy. Then I brought it home, soaked it in peroxide and made a fridge magnet out of it. See, all the way classy.

    If Aden wants it, I would mail it to her. Honest I would, from Vancouver, BC. I wonder if customs would consider that hazardous waste . . .

    • Ha! I LOVE this, Gaylin, and especially YOU for offering… this is far and away the absolute BEST offer I’ve ever had from blogging. Ever. Ever. Not to mention it would make writing lucrative. SO tempting. And making Greg open the package?? Bahahaha.

      Sadly, I’m *so not telling* Aden because she would take you up on it in a heartbeat and I already don’t know what to do with all the teeth falling out of my kids’ mouths. (I can hear you screaming, “Throw them away!” but they write the Tooth Fairy ( https://bethwoolsey.com/2012/02/the-tooth-fairy-intervention/ ) the cutest notes asking to keep them, so instead I find them in plastic sandwich baggies months and months later, and, well, I’m pathetic and sentimental…)

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