Just a quick stop today to mention that today is Towel Day — a day to celebrate the life and work of Douglas Adams, who wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy in five books.” There was even a mention of it in the NY Times Sunday Book Reviews a couple of weeks ago. “Don’t Panic and Carry a Towel” became a mantra for people who are fond of his work (and in my house, there are some people — M and S, ahem — who fall into this category), and the mere mention of it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.
This past week, I’ve been anxious about a lot of little incidences that I’ve convinced myself have major, life-changing ramifications. And they don’t, really, in the long run. I find as a mother, I tend to worry more about everything — big, global issues affecting the planet all the way down to teeny, tiny possibilities affecting no one right this minute but could someday, you understand, if I’m not on top of them.
I think every woman, when she becomes a mother for the first time, becomes a kind of natural actuary. Any mother can look at a situation involving kids and tell you the exact odds for every possible event that could happen.
Case in point: Kid with untied shoes running on a concrete sidewalk in order to catch the school bus. I’ll bet, if you’re a mom, you’ve already started your breakdown of how many things could go wrong with this picture:
- 63.1% chance that he’ll trip on his own shoelaces, scrape his knee and miss the bus.
- 16.3% chance that he’ll lose a shoe as he runs, have to stop to retrieve it, and miss the bus.
- 9.1% chance that he’ll just flat out miss the bus because he can’t run fast enough with his super-heavy backpack and the bus driver doesn’t see him waving his skinny arms and yelling to stop.
- 6.2% chance that he’ll be almost at the bus stop when he realizes that he forgot his homework on the kitchen table, stop, turn around to run home, yelling, “Hold the bus for me!”
- 5.3% chance that he’ll be just fine and catch the bus despite everything.
So today, I’m going to take a deep breath, try to put aside my worries, and run to the library to see if I can check out the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video. I’m going to try to remember not to panic and carry a towel, that most useful of all things.
And then next week, I’ll worry about what the heck we’re going to do on summer vacation. Next week.