I admit it. I’m a worrier. Why do I worry? I’ve thought a lot about why I worry … or I should say, I’ve worried a lot about why I worry. Because for me, the boundaries that should exist between worry and thought are not well defined. But, before we delve into why, I want to make sure you have a clear understanding of the depth of my problem. See, if you knew me more than just through the blog, you might not suspect that I’m neurotic. I appear to function pretty well. That is the say, I’m able to keep myself and my family fed, clean, and where they are supposed to be most of the time. I pay my bills on time, show up for work each day, and have never forgotten to pick my kids up when they need to be. On the surface, my life is controlled and predictable. However, worry is not at all about what goes on on the outside of someone … it is all about what is inside one’s head. Here is just a taste of the craziness that lives in mine.
1. I believe I will be a widow. Not an elderly, walker-pushing, nursing home living widow whose husband dies a few years before me leaving our small doily covered room all to myself with blessed relief from his incessant snoring. I don’t worry about that. I’m convinced that while I’m young, my husband will be killed in an accident. Most likely an automobile accident, although I’m open to the possibility of it occurring on his four-wheeler. I also have not ruled out a heart attack or household accident. I have a friend whose husband was once trapped under a fully loaded trash bin in their driveway. Although her husband lived, I don’t expect my husband to be as fortunate in a similar circumstance.
2. I believe I’m a bad mother and my children’s lives will be ruined because of it. Now, understand that my children seem to be doing well. They get good grades, are socialized enough that they have friends, enjoy playing soccer, and while they are not entirely issue-free, they have no major noticeable malfunctions. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m not damaging them by my mere presence. I love my children with a ferocity I cannot describe. The way their hair smells is oxygen to my brain, the sound of their voices is food for my soul, the warmth of their little bodies is better than any electric blanket ever made, and their sense of humor is the closest thing to joy a worrier like me has ever been able to find.
I tell them I love them, I do my best to show them I love them, and the truth that I do indeed love them could not be more precise. However, they will forget my love one day and only remember me as “Target Mom.” You know “Target Mom” … you’ve seen her at Target yourself. She’s easy to spot by the wailing coming from her shopping cart as she loses control and yells at her poor innocent children, who I’m sure up to this point have been perfect little shopping companions, sitting quietly in the cart and not asking for a single thing.
These are the two biggies that consume most of my worry time. However, when I get bored with these, I pick up the following and see if I can’t develop them a little better.
3. My house will be destroyed by a tornado. (My husband, of course, does not survive as he is trapped in the car on the way home when the F-5 hits instead of tucked into the bathroom under the stairs with me, the kids, and the seventy-pound yellow lab.)
4. I will have breast cancer. I will survive, but not before my children are traumatized by the experience (this will be my fault for not beginning mammograms earlier).
5. I will be struck by lightening. Again, I survive, but my children witness the event. However, good will come of this because they will forever more obey me when I say “GET OUT OF THE WATER! I THINK I HEARD THUNDER!”
6. The one and only time my children are not properly buckled into their seats, I will have a catastrophic car crash. The mere fact that one of my children’s seat belts is not buckled will inexplicably pull my minivan into on coming traffic where an eighteen-wheeler awaits. I must survive, otherwise I will be unable to punish myself for the rest of my life.
7. My children will drown while I’m not looking. Granted they can both swim, we don’t have a pool in our backyard, and they are not allowed to enter the water without a responsible adult watching their every move. The fact that they may drown has nothing to do with their ability to swim and everything to do with my not paying attention for a split second.
8. My mother will outlive me, and will, therefore, gain complete and unrestricted access to my children and rob me of living any part of my life without her.
9. My husband will outlive me, which will mean all the time I spent worrying about becoming a widow was ridiculous.
10. I will outlive my children. If you’re a mother … enough said.