I have decided I would prefer a life without problems.
Or: if I must have problems, I would like those problems to be along the lines of "Oh dear, we've got cut worms on the broccoli; whatever shall we do?"
Actually, I don't mind big problems, problems that call for a stiff upper lip, elbow grease and a can-do spirit. Garage falls down in a wind storm? We'll build ourselves a new one, by golly! No money for food? I'll take on a second job sewing the buttons back on businessmen's shirts. We will survive!
It's the nebulous problems that totally stress me out. Problems that have no solutions. Problems that may not even be problems. Or aren't problems now, but might become problems later.
And problems that concern my children drive me absolutely nuts.
So Jack has this friend named (let's pretend) Caleb. They've been friends for awhile, not close, not play-date friends, but hang out during recess friends. Caleb is bright and funny and a bit of a trouble maker. At least that's been my take on him. He's clearly a high energy kid, and I know he's had problems with other kids, being too physical with them. He's a big guy. But I don't get a bad vibe from him at all.
Other moms have other opinions, it turns out. One mom, who I don't know that well, but whose son is one of Jack's best friends at school, essentially thinks Caleb is a psychopath. She claims he's told kids at school he hurts his cat for fun, that last year (third grade) he shaved his head because he wanted to be a goth. He apparently plowed down her son last year on the playground for no reason whatsoever while she and Caleb's mother were standing there watching. Caleb's mom didn't say anything.
My inclination is to worry this to death. We're coming up on middle school after all. Is Jack buddying up with a future Jeffrey Dahmer? Will he join Caleb in a life of crime? If it were even possible to separate Jack from this kid, would it be wise? Are there actual grounds for doing so? The mom who's been telling me this stuff has only one child; could she be overprotective and paranoid? Misinterpreting?
Should I trust that we've done a good job raising Jack, that he knows right from wrong, and ultimately will make wise choices when it comes to friends? I knew right from wrong growing up, and I still formed wildly inappropriate friendships whenever possible. They were so much more fun than the suitable girls.
Really, you could go crazy thinking about this stuff. Do we have a problem or not? Can you even define the problem discussed in this post? I'm not sure I can.
I'm beginning to think I'm an unfit mother and will not survive my children's adolescence. Stay tuned to find out!