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  • 06/16/2002
  • WildlandFire.com Team
  • 0 Comment

Hello, Marlene,

I hope your son has had a break and called since your last post. I found this
Bakersfield Fire Program site, which might give you some information. There’s
a nice photograph of the Kern Valley Hotshots.

Don’t minimize yourself as “just” a worried Mom. Be proud. You’ve given the
world a invaluable gift.

My son is a full grown, strong, agile man with hair all over his body, who is
doing what he loves more than anything in the world. Yet he is still that
special person who came from my womb, the boy I raised from his first breath,
the kid who wanted to explore what fire did to plastic, wood, glass, etc., in
a galvanized tub one spring day a long time ago. I’m proud of this grown man,
salute him for fighting a “noble” fight, and revere him as a kind of
warrior-saint with a special calling.

My love or worry is not lessened just because he is an adult. I’d worry if he
were 70 and I were 90. When you give birth to someone, the thought of that
child being in danger generates a primordial reaction–species instinct
perhaps–to see to his safety.

Do we grow out of this? No. Do we learn to cope? Yes. It helps me to have a
ritual or two. When my son calls and leaves a message on the machine, I don’t
erase it until I hear from him again. I write to him, send him notes, funny
newspaper clippings, “care” packages. I read the sit reps every day–because
it makes me feel as if in doing so I can send him some energy to trudge up
that steep terrain fully loaded when he’s exhausted.

Silly? I suppose so, but these actions help me to balance the fear and let me
go about my life during the fire season without that heart-crushing anxiety.
Why, I can even go dancing and sing while doing the dishes! So, hang in
there, Marlene. Be safe. Love him and worry–you can’t do otherwise.

P.S. I’d be interested in coping rituals that other families and friends use.

Shot’s Mom

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