One summer, while waiting in the Heathrow airport after a vacation in Greece, I bumped into not one but two high school classmates who were going back home after being in Portugal and Ireland. The three of us talked about what a coincidence it was that we were all taking the same flight back to Canada.
I was calm and cool on the outside, laughing and talking, but really, I was picturing the cover of the newspapers the next day, with the caption "Three passengers aboard the flight were all graudates of the same high school, coming home from vacation..."
You see, in that instance when I bumped into these old friends, I found it way too weird that we were all taking the same flight back home. I was convinced we'd die in a terrible airplane crash. I could see the story in my mind unfolding as we were waiting to get on that plane. I was not sure I should even get on that plane, for I was sure we were doomed.
I guess you could say I sometimes see the cup 'half empty' rather than 'half full'. I tend to think of the worst case scenario wherever I go, thinking that I'm not capable of avoiding disaster.
Another time, in a taxi in Greece, I noticed the driver was taking my friends and I a very odd way home - so I screamed for him to stop driving, and insisted we get out, as I had a feeling he was going to kidnap us. No kidding. The three of us went running, half laughing, half screaming, with him just yelling at us to give him his money. He must have thought we were nuts. But hey - better safe than sorry, right?
I can be so dramatic sometimes, but the fear I have is real and I have come to terms with the fact that I'm going to live like this forever.
Once, while enjoying some fries on a local patio, I noticed the ketchup I was dipping my fries in was rather... crunchy. But I kept eating. That's how much I love my fries. Upon further investigation, I realized the ketchup had tiny bits of glass in it. I called the hospital. I told them I had eaten some glass, and they did nothing to calm me down. Instead, I was told I should probably go to the emergency room, as the glass could travel to my lungs. So off to the hospital I went, and waited 3 hours to be seen. By then, I was pretty sure I was going to be okay. And I was.
The moment I am struck with panic and fear, there is nothing you can say to me to calm me down. Wine sometimes helps, though...
I get this way with my children, too. I worry about everything, constantly. This is probably the number one reason I'm pretty sure I'm not going to have more children. The nights when either one of my children are sick, I worry so much it ages me about 10 years. At the rate I'm going, I figure my life expectancy will be drastically reduced with another addition to our family.
The gate we have at the top of ours stairs is there for the protection of the children at night, but secretly, I love the gate because if anyone were to break into the house, the gate would make it a lot harder for them to come into our rooms. And at least with them stuggling to figure out how to get it open, I'd have time to gather everyone up in one room, close and lock the door, push the dresser in front of the door, and call 9-1-1.
See? Who thinks like that?
It doesn't end, this worry I have. It's just a part of who I am. But somehow, even when I'm in the most awful situation - for instance, when my son needed surgery last year to drain fluid in his lung due to the bad case of pneumonia he had, I was able to live through it. However, coming out of that experience did not make me a stronger person. I think once you are exposed to upsetting situations, things that you are most scared of, it only adds to your worry. I don't quite understand the concept of 'it only makes you stronger'. In what way have I come out a stronger person? In fact, I think I am more weak, more aware.
But still. Even though I'll be looking over my shoulder as I walk to my car in the dark parking lot after work, making sure no one is hiding in the backseat of my car, I will go home, and have a great night with my boys - a night that will be filled with laughter, some fighting, lots of food, and plenty of playing.