All the ways in which I worry about my son

On my mind today, 3/3/2017:

Nationally: continued stories about Sessions and Russia and recusal/resignation. At work, we read a bunch of fellowship applications and tried to make a few students’ dreams come true. I also read for my research project–all about the production and political economy of U.S. Latinx media. In the late afternoon, I got a chance to hear Give Get Sistet and their improvisational a cappella; their voices vibrated through the hairs on my neck. We all sang together before I had to go. In the morning I heard a story corps conversation between Gabe López, a transgender boy, and his mother, Chris López. He asks, midway through, “do you worry about me?” And that question stunned me and led me to this poem.

All the ways in which I worry about my son

Now that the boy who used to be three and then was eleven and now,
somehow, cusping seventeen,
nears escape velocity,

I worry.

I worry he won’t be happy and I worry he’ll be too sad
I worry he’ll need therapy and it will be all my fault
I worry he’ll take risks that I can’t see and won’t know about and
somehow that is scarier
I worry that I won’t be there to catch him.

I worry that he’ll go too fast and won’t take time to breathe
or that he’ll go too slow and miss the perfect opportunity.
I worry that he won’t be brave enough to love; I worry he’ll
love too easily.
I worry he’ll have his heart broken or that
he’ll break somebody’s heart.

I worry he won’t be kind, or generous, or thoughtful in the world
and I worry I haven’t taught him how to fight for what is right.
I worry he won’t take risks to persist when there are lives at stake
and I worry he won’t be strong enough to stand when winds are strong.

But oh I do not worry that he’ll meet hate outside his door,
or that people might treat him badly just because of who he is.

Imagine that your child asks you, “do you worry about me?”
My stomach tilts; I cannot breathe.

My worries are mine and dear, but they’re also small and polished.
I don’t know how to help shoulder the worries of those
whose worries weigh heavy.

My worries are small; my son is now taller.
Letting go of worry is the work of parenting.
Trusting that the world has a place for my son.
Knowing that we all fight to make this world a place for every child.

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