Editor's Note: 'Don't worry' – easier said than done

I’m a worrier.

I worry about everything. Ridiculous things. Last week, my son went on a school field trip, and though I carried on my day as usual, I didn’t really relax until I knew he was home safe.  (After all, that bus was traveling on the interstate, with who-knows-what kind of crazy high-speed drivers.)

I worried a little less when the same son went on a Cub Scout camping trip over the weekend, primarily because my husband went with him. I didn’t worry about anything really awful happening, but I did fret about whether they would remember to wear sunscreen and drink enough water and what-happens-if-one-comes-across-a-plant-he’s-allergic-to.

A friend commented that the symptom checker on the pop medical website WebMD is “the place where the common cold turns into a life-threatening illness.” Tell me about it.

I also worry about more frivolous things: whether I inconvenienced someone by asking them to babysit, whether I somehow traumatized my children by leaving them with a babysitter, whether I spent too much money on that blouse. And about things I have absolutely no control over, like the rough patches children of my friends are going through and the assorted struggles of friends or family members.

My mother would probably take credit for some of this trait in me. The older I get, the more I am becoming like that wonderful lady, which is generally a good thing. But she is a classic worrier. When we were children, our doctor would often walk into the exam room for our appointments and before taking a look at us, would ask her what disease had been featured in that month’s Reader’s Digest. She also goes out of her way to avoid inconveniencing people and apologizes for things that are not her fault, like getting sick.

Yeah, I do that, too.

Now I’m sure my mom is reading this column and is about to text me an apology.

In fact, I’m worrying that I’ve made her feel worried. Meanwhile, my husband is reading this, shaking his head and laughing at the silliness of us both. Which is OK – actually, people thinking I’m silly doesn’t worry me at all.

• • • • •

Congratulations to all of our area graduates – those graduating from high school, from college, from technical or GED programs.

Graduations are often hard for reporters to cover, because they are so important to the people experiencing them, but are so similar that it is a struggle to make the last graduation story different from the first.

Whenever I covered graduations – and I’ve covered a lot – I enjoyed looking beyond the star graduates. It’s an easy no-brainer to interview the valedictorian or the graduate with all the awards, and that person is a worthy interview – they worked hard and have been rewarded. But sometimes hard work doesn’t win accolades. I discovered it was even more fun to interview the student who almost didn’t make it to graduation – the high school student who nearly dropped out, but stuck with it, struggled and maybe barely passed – but did pass. Or the college student with a full-time job and a family at home who spent seven or eight years fighting for that degree a couple of classes at a time.

So while I congratulate all of our local graduates, to those of you for whom this did not come easy, who know what it is to struggle and almost give up, a special tip of my hat to you. Congratulations.

Enjoy your MidWeek.

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