"Mothers are all slightly insane," Holden Caulfield says at one point in The Catcher in the Rye. I always knew what he meant. It was never a quote that I puzzled over. In five words, he nailed it. Yes, mothers are all slightly insane, some more slightly than others. They're insane because they can never be certain, ever, that their child(ren) is(are) completely without harm. They are on some kind of alert twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, always. Some part of them never sleeps. You can't be that attentive and worried for that long and not be slightly crazy. Combine this worry with powerlessness—as soon as the boy or girl steps out of the house (out of the room, actually), they can't do a thing to protect them.
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