Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reflections

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.

25 comments:

Theta Mom said...

I am a worrier, too. Honestly, I think it means you're a good mother. My worries are just as real as yours, and although it may seem nutty at times, it's because we have never loved anything like this before. Ever.

Sharon said...

Ever since we got hit head on by a drunk driver a year ago, I've been a constant worrier. Turning around and seeing my oldest son strapped into his car seat covered in blood changed me forever. Now, instead of seeing them happily riding their bikes, I only envision a car swearving up on the sidewalk and hitting them. Instead of two boys running around playing tag, I see two boys who may run and fall and hit their heads and die. It's exhausting. I wish I could change it.

Gina said...

If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd have fewer imaginary ones. ~Don Herold

Worrying gets you nowhere, you have to learn to control it!

Neena said...

no need to explain dramatics to another mother -we understand.

BTW - I had a dream you were pregnant with your third the other night. it was a girl.

Ms. Porter said...

I'm very similar to you when it comes to worry and fear. I am paranoid and obsessive about things! I find as I get older I'm only getting worse, especially as my girls get older and are away from me more. I don't like driving alone in the same car as my husband without our kids in the car for fear that we will both be killed together and our children will be left as orphans. Our doors are always locked and we have bars in certain windows and doors as well as an alarm system and an 85lb dog! And...I still worry that someone will break into the girl's windows at night and steal them! Cookooo!!! Despite all of that, I find that I handle the real situations far better than I give myself credit for...it's like my mind has done all the difficult stuff so that when something does happen it's never as bad as I think it will be!

LZ @ My Messy Paradise said...

We're cut from the same cloth. I worry about everything. I share your fear of flying, and rarely do it (making our family vacations a bit less vacation-ish, and more sucky driving-ish.)
I always have the Benadryl, and I always have band-aids, and my phone is always charged. Someone has to be ready for an emergency...But, if life is anything like the movies, emergencies only happen when you don't anticipate them, right? Not when you worry and prepare. Oh, how I wish...

Mommy Lisa said...

OMG! I am so there. I have a plan for if/when our home alarm system (yes, I am that crazy I had an alarm system installed in our home) goes off to grab my baby, run in my room and dump my huge-a&& armoir in front of the door.

When I walk anywhere outside I keep my cell phone in my bra in case someone grabs me and shoves me in a trunk.

You are not alone.

Tonya said...

It's nice to know that there are other people out there who go through this. And as my kids are getting older and at the driving age and soon leaving home age I am worse then ever! But as one person said it's because we love our children with everything we have. I just like to think if we imagine the worst hopefully it will never happen. I will feel better now knowing I'm not alone with this craziness.

Smart A$$ Mom said...

I once read that a mother fear is a protective instinct, to help us in the event of true emergency. Because we have played the scenario so many times over in our heads, we will react quickly and with clarity.

Sounds feasible anyway.

Lady Mama said...

You're not the only one Loukia. And you're definitely not weak! Being worried or scared does not make you a weak person - it makes you human.

Honestly, I am exactly the same as you. Anywhere we go, I often find myself figuring out a plan in case the worst case should happen.

And, like you, this problem is one of the biggest things stopping me from wanting to have another child.

Alex and Ashley said...

I DO THE SAME THING! I have imagined my own plane headlines and since my husband sleeps at the hospital when on call I shut the bottom gate and the top gate so I can hear if anyone comes through! I worry about everything! Sometimes my stomach hurts so badly I have to retrace my thoughts to see what made me so nervous. Anyways, cheers- love your blog!

Krystyn said...

I say it's good to be cautious...especially with your kids. You are just extra cautious!

Maria @BOREDmommy said...

This is no coincidence - this is Greek momma syndrome. Our mommas gave it to us to pass on to our kids. My mother is a permanent stress case, and worries about everything all the time, even when there is no reason to. I am so grateful (no I'm not) that she passed these lovely traits on to me. I worry about everything ALL THE TIME - it never ends. I'm 100 times worse when the kids are sick. I can't function at all when they are ill. Its the absolute worst feeling.
I do have to say though, you either have some weird, bad luck or, well I guess there is no or because I've never heard of anyone with so many stories of bad luck!! I don't think we can hang out. I don't want your bad karma :)

CaraBee said...

I'm a worrier, too. I think it is just one of those things that women, and especially moms, do.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

You are cracking me up with your baby gate. I'm trying to imagine the loser ax murderer who takes the time to try to figure out how to work the latch. I think they'd just jump over it.

But I can relate to this. I have to work very hard not to jump to conclusions. My most recent one was when my husband yelled down to me in the basement that he was going to a neighbor's house to watch a game (no clue what - football?). He was gone for hours and I didn't hear him and had no idea where he was. I had to really reel myself in on the worrying. But don't think for a second that "alien abduction" didn't cross my mind.

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

I know what you mean. Scary scenarios play out in my head all the time, and I hate it! Being a parent certainly makes it worse.

Lolly said...

I am the same way but I spoke with my OB today and apparently there's normal worry and then there's crazy worry which is what I do.

Tiaras said...

OMG - I HAVE GATES ON MY STAIRS FOR THE SAME REASON!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone thinks I'm crazy! I am so neurotic! Seriously - I am freaky about it - I refuse to drive at night or go anywhere alone at night b/c I am afraid I will be robbed, raped or car jacked. My kids are NOT allowed outside at night - NOT ONCE _ NOT EVER! But, I am easing up with my kids - having a 3rd child helped (basically b/c I think I am too tired to be so nervous all the time) and once they have been in school for a year or so - it gets easier. But I am still a WATCHFUL momma at the school - I am terrified - TERRIFIED - that one of my children will be harmed in a horrific manner at school (it is so prevelant here in the USA)

Chelle said...

I'm such a worrier. I mean, all the time. Always planning fire escape routes, what to do if I hear someone breaking in during the day, everything!

I like to blame the news and magazines...it's all over the news all the time! So of course it makes me start wondering and thinking...

I'm glad I'm not the only worrier :)

Nenette AM said...

I'm a worrier too. Karma, weird coincidences, and add the fact that I inherited my mom's ultra-religious Filipino superstition and overactive imagination pretty much guaranteed it.

I too think of the whole "ways to keep my kids safe" A LOT, but really I don't think it's a bad thing. It's a sign of a good, protective mom.

But yeah, the flight with the 3 of you all from the same high school flying back to Canada at the same time would've had me freaking out too. :)

Tiffany Lockette said...

Oh my goodness I am the exact same way. It is really weird, no one else in my family is a worrier. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they worry but not to the extent that I do. I know I am aging significantly while doing all of this worrying but I can't control it, it's just me, what can I say? Just wanted you to know that you aren't coo coo and that you aren't alone. We just tend to think the worst about situations rather than the best.

Jessica said...

Ugh, I KNOW. I worry about the tractor-trailer whose brakes are going to give out, hitting the van that will then hit the light pole that will then fall and land on top of my car as I'm stuck at a red light with no where to run to. Yeah. Stupid, right? But, maybe not if I'm not alone in this.

I think worry like this really stems from our need to control things. We need to look at our lives and see what's really going on and just let go of something. Not the worry for our kids, which can be helpful to some degree, but the other stuff.

I know that once I fell in love my fear of flying developed. I think it's a fear of loss that sparks all of my incessant worrying. I wonder what everyone else's is? And I wonder what life would be if I just accepted that I can't control it? Would my horrific vision finally end?

Elaine A. said...

I think we all worry about certain things. There are nights that I go to bed with thoughts of someone breaking into the house and I worry about my husband on the road to and from work a lot. Honestly, I think it's part of being a woman.

But, my Grandma always used to say that worrying makes you shrink so I try to limit it as much as I can 'cause I certainly don't need to be any shorter! ;-) Oh and I pray a lot!

Jen said...

Have mercy, I am so happy to read that I am NOT alone!!! I do the same things, have the same thoughts and worries. I plan escape routes in my head, have stalked the playground at school, have (successfully!) attacked home intruders in my runaway imagination, etc. But I swear I'm not a nutcase! I like to think I'll just be prepared. Of course you just know that when the sh*t really does come down, I'll likely freeze!!!

BeachMama said...

I worry like that too. I just pray that none of my worries ever come to life.

And for the record, I only became a worrier after I had children.

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