My Kids Take My Breath Away

T. H. McClung, she/her(s)
3 min readNov 8, 2021


I wonder if there are any mothers who are not worrywarts

Photo by Marcela Rogante on Unsplash

Neither one of my children are home right now. I’m reminded of a time when I was in my twenties and my father reminded me as I left my parents house,

“Call us when you make it home.”

I thought it was so dumb. I reluctantly said, “Okay, Dad, but I’m an adult now.” To which he replied,

“I know you are an adult, but you are still my child. You just don’t know how it is. Your mom and I are never fully at ease unless we know each of you is home safe. I can’t sleep well until I know you are home.”

Ugh! So true. I just said to Hubby, “I wish our kids were home.”

There is nothing I need them to do. They will come home and go to their rooms. I will be lucky if I even get to lay eyes on either of them today, but I just do not breathe as easily when they are “out in the world.” Especially after dark.

It is a false narrative we have told ourselves. I do know that. The other day I was sitting right here in this same spot at about 2:30 in the afternoon and I heard five gunshots followed by about five minutes of silence then six gunshots a little further away. We live in the city. It has always been an issue, but they seem to come more often now. Either things are truly more dangerous or I am truly middle-aged. Actually, I think both of those things can be true at the same time.

Sometimes I miss using a baby monitor with my kids. And, we never even had the video monitor. We only got to listen to them breathing (and crying!) But, I do track their phones. So, I obsessively check to see where they are located. Right now Kid #1 is at a friend’s house. He is probably up to no good, but at least I know he is not driving around. Kid #2 is sitting in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on one of the busiest streets in our city. He was shocked when I called and said, “Get moving.”

He is with his significant other. I imagine they will assume that it has something to do with that. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: “What are you doing?”
Kid: “Sitting in a parking lot.”
Me: “Yeah, I know. That is the problem.”
Kid: “What is the problem?”
Me: “You’ve been there quite a while and nothing good can come from sitting in a parking lot.”
Kid: “We are conversing!”
Me: “It isn’t safe. Get to moving. You can drive slowly and still converse. But be sure to keep your mind on the road while in conversation! Be safe!”

This child thinks I am the dumbest human ever. And can’t possibly know what it is like to sit trying to keep my mind occupied when all I can do is wonder if my children will make it home safe tonight.

I’m dramatic! I exaggerate. Don’t think I’m wallowing in pain and agony for every single minute that my kids are on the road. It isn’t quite that bad. I just don’t breathe as deeply when they aren’t in their rooms. And, I know anything could happen at home too, but there is just something about knowing your kids are home safe.

Before you have children the world is not quite as meaningful, but it also doesn’t feel as scary. It is a trade-off really. My dad was right. I had no way of understanding then. I totally get it now.

The oldest just walked in the door. According to the phone tracker, the other one should be home before too long. I’ll watch some more TV and go to sleep once that happens. I’ll just be sitting here holding my breath until then.



T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be