Thursday, April 10, 2008

You Never Stop Worrying

First thing at work this morning, I passed one of my coworkers, looking harried as she rushed down the hall.

“I just found out that my daughter has just been in a terrible accident,” she said to no one in particular, then she disappeared around a corner.

A few minutes later, I stopped by her office to check on her. I asked if I could do anything for her at the office today. She is supposed to leave for the London Book Fair tomorrow, and this is one of her busiest times of the year.

She bustled about her office in that frantic-useless way people tend to do when they’ve just gotten bad news and don’t know what to do with themselves. She told me that early this morning, her daughter had flipped her car over, and that a stranger had stopped to help and call 911, then had accompanied her daughter to the hospital.

As she spoke, she attempted, with shaking hands, to shove a large green file folder into her tote bag. I gently took the folder from her and placed it in her bag, and she started crying outright, and we hugged for a long moment.

Then she gestured to my pregnant belly and looked at me with watery eyes. “You’re having a little girl, right?” she asked.

I nodded.

"My daughter just turned 25 last week,” she said. “And I told myself, ‘Oh, good, maybe now I can stop worrying about her.’”

She reached toward my belly as if to touch it, then pulled her hands away, wringing them together. “But, oh, honey, when you’re a mother, you never stop worrying. You just never stop.”