My brave strong sons and daughter.
I am trying very hard to be the supportive, helpful, serene Mama that you deserve. You are all smart, informed, progressive thinkers. You read, you listen, you understand what you are doing when you go out and protest. You are involved, and you are trying to change the world. I salute you!
Last October, on your maiden voyage with Occupy Wall Street, you all marched valiantly across the Brooklyn Bridge and you all got arrested. Gulp! Dad and I spent a scared and sleepless night trying to get information about you, trying to follow what was happening down there, trying to reassure ourselves that you were safe. We know that you tried to stay in touch when the zipcuffs allowed you to text, but it was still pretty upsetting for us. I will never, ever forget what it felt like to scan the images popping up on Flckr and recognizing the young man with his hands cuffed behind his back. OH MY GOD!! THAT’S MY BABY SON!!!!!
So now I am getting myself ready for your involvement in the May Day General Strike in Manhatten tomorrow, as well as your road trip to Chicago on the 20th to protest the NATO meeting and the possibility of war with Iran. I am doing everything that I can to stay calm and relaxed. I am not reading the OWS website (that often). I am not scrolling through photos of police in riot gear (much). I am not lying awake at 3 AM envisioning every possible mishap, accident and complication. (Well, not every night.)
I am, to be perfectly honest with you, of two minds.
Or rather, I am in one mind. But I am out of the other. My internal dialogue right now is the war of two Mamas.
One is Rational Mom: she is so proud of you! She is your biggest fan and cheerleader! She can’t wait to see your Facebook updates!
The other is Crazy Mamma Bear: she is sure that you are going to catch a disease, be clubbed in the head by a corrupt cop or be kidnapped and sent to the third world as a sex slave. Her imagination knows no bounds.
If you somehow had the misfortune of hearing my racing thoughts, you would hear something like this:
Rational Mom (RM): “This is so great! I have raised responsible, aware, involved kids! They rock!”
Crazy Mamma Bear (CMB): “They have ASTHMA, for God’s sake! They can’t possibly tolerate pepper spray!”
RM: “I am so proud! I have always been a super liberal, but I never had the courage to get out there and march!”
CMB: “What the hell do they think they’re doing?!? They’re BABIES! They think they are going to stand up to Wall Street? The New York City POLICE?! Freaking NATO?! They are idiots!!!!”
RM: “I should send them some gas money! I should pay for a place to stay in Chicago! I should pack them a nice lunch!”
CMB: “I should slap them silly! I should lasso them and tie them to the kitchen table!”
RM: “Go, kids! Change the world! Keep your idealism, your faith, your altruistic natures! Go get ’em!”
CMB: “Get back here right now! Put down those signs and come into this house! I MEAN IT!”
The thing is, I have children who are too smart and too independent to let CMB hold them back, and for that I am profoundly grateful. I want them to stand up to my Crazy Mamma Bear self.
Because for me the only thing worse than knowing that they are out there would be knowing that I stopped them from going. Knowing that I used guilt and fear to keep them from spreading their wings.
I never ever want to hold them back. I just want to hold their hands.
So, go get ’em, kids! But be sure you have a raincoat and some healthy snacks when you do!