I have a list of irrational fears for my kids, that are not totally impossible to imagine but that add to the anxiety known as motherhood. These have somewhat changed as they have aged but many remain.
Some of these are, in no particular order;
Children being kidnapped - one to many episodes of Criminal Minds or my new obsession The Family at fault here. Statistically hasn't changed much in 30 or so years, most still are familial disputes I still cannot stop myself from fearing this and telling my kids about this danger.
Children being molested - the transgender bathroom law did not make me think that public bathrooms could be unsafe. I have always thought public restrooms harbor potential for danger (and grossness) and to the best of my knowledge it is not the transgendered I fear since statistically speaking it is heterosexual males who are predators. I will walk inside a men's room with no issue if my mom sense tells me to. I fear this from strangers and from anyone because unfortunately these things more often than not happen with people kids know. I tell my kids about this danger and love our school's discussion on good and bad touches.
Children taking drugs - the kind that get them addicted or dead
Children being bullied - and beaten or threatened or just plain hurt emotionally or physically, or both.
I have others but they are minor. This need to protect my kids is pretty strong. So far we have been lucky but middle school is harder to navigate. I cannot tell if my child is hormonal so moody because of it or he doesn't sometimes want to go to school because something is going on. Does he not want to ride the bus in the morning for the reasons he tells me (Likes the time we spend together driving to school, hates the loudness and detailed sex talk on the bus - took me a bit to not cringe when he told me some of the things they are saying in 6th grade) or is there another reason the morning bus has become a place he avoids. Is it spring fever, I remember it well in school, or does not enjoy school as much now because something is going on. This is what keeps me up at night. The idea that I cannot protect him coupled with the idea that I need to let him be who he is and stand up for himself if needed. I am that mom that says you do not hit first, you try and work it out but hey sometimes you got to hit last and hit hard.
My child is pretty popular but now there are girls involved - girls who will not like him more than a friend - friend zone him as they say these days. That breaks me too but I know that it is so part of who we all need to be at certain ages... I still remember my crushes that turned into nothing because hey I was their "buddy" (but I did not want buddy zone, I wanted hand holding like me back zone) in middle school, hell even later. My ability to be friends with boys is one of my favorite things but at times I liked their friendship but in the words of recently departed Prince I also wanted their "kiss".
You worry about children from the minute they scream hello at birth but your anxiety increases the less you can control the bubble wrap you want to put around them. You know they need to learn to deal with bad people, bad situations but hope none of the ones I listed as a fear are the situations they encounter. I am not sure my brain and stomach will live through high school when already there seems to be so much drama in middle school. You cannot child proof the world.
As hormones rage and kids rage and the world rages it is not easy to help our children but we do it because we hope our fears are mostly that - just our fears. I never stop reminding my boys that I am there for them, and even when I may not like what I hear, I will always try and help them through it with words of encouragement, with dealing with situations and even Astoria style attitude if needed.I think back on my own middle school days and realize there were people who were mean to me and I survived because I was lucky to have friends, there were times when the mundane seemed sooo important and like life would end but it did not. I did not have to deal with social media, cause at worst someone wrote something in a bathroom or passed a note about you during my childhood, which can follow you home and boy would I open a can of whoop ass if you try that with my kid.
We hear the old adage little kids little problems big kids big problems ... I am grateful for the best friends I have who help me survive and thrive as a mom. May all our kids know we have their best interests in mind and their backs if they ever need it.