Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Worry About Worrying

 I'm worried that I'll always be worried.


I was in my car a couple of days ago, thinking about all that has been going on in the last few weeks. Let me give you a brief outline.

1. One daughter on antibiotics for a sinus infection.
2. One dog with a "hot spot" on his paw that he won't stop licking so he was sporting the cone of shame for a while.
3. One daughter with cysts in her ankle so bad she can barely walk.
4. One cat who had a cyst we didn't know about on her stomach burst (I'll spare you the details) and must now have surgery to the tune of several hundred dollars.

My son and I are fine (although I shouldn't have typed that - I'm pretty sure I've jinxed us), but I have thought about going ahead and taking our Christmas picture now with a kid in a boot, a daughter holding up her prescription bottle, and both pets in cones.

As I've told the kids, "If we were horses, they would have shot us by now."

Anyway, as you might imagine, I've been a little anxious lately as I carry this load (and the bills that come with it) on my own. And I was comforting myself as I was driving, thinking that at some point this will pass and things will be okay again.

And then I had this CRAZY realization that probably everyone else had the moment they discovered they were going to be parents, but it's taken me 15 years to really get.

I will never stop worrying. Because it doesn't matter how old my kids get...I will always be a parent.

Well, this sucks.

I'm one of those people who still can't get over the notion that there isn't some sort of end game to this thing called life. That there will be no point when I wake up and the bills will be paid, the family is healthy, the house is in perfect repair, and I'm generally happy with the state of the world.

And if that blessed moment ever does occur, it's hard for me to believe that it won't last.

So, I was sitting at this stoplight, realizing that I was always going to be worried about something.

And that has me worried.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

7:14 PM

I'm taking my youngest daughter in for an MRI tomorrow.

She's had pain in her ankle and two X-rays have proven inconclusive. There wasn't an incident that started the whole thing. She's been in pain for almost two months now - even though she's wearing the dreaded boot.

So tomorrow is the big day. And I've been okay with that. Until 7:14 this evening.

I was driving to pick her up from piano when I started thinking about what it could be. The doctor is fairly sure of what it is and that it can be resolved by wearing the boot or a cast, but she's not 100%. I could tell at the appointment that she waited until the last moment before she mentioned the word "tumor" and then quickly dismissed it as unlikely.

And that's what I thought, too. Until 7:14 tonight.

I had a flashback to about 12 years ago. My oldest daughter, then almost 4-years-old, had been complaining of back pain. When I mentioned it to her pediatrician during a routine check up, she immediately sat straight in her chair and said, "We don't often hear that from kids this age."

We did a urine test to make sure that it wasn't a kidney infection and then, on my 29th birthday, I landed with a thud on my living room chair - pregnant with my third and another toddler in a crib upstairs  - and listened to the doctor tell me that it wasn't a kidney infection.

"At this point, we will want to do a bone scan," she said.

"What are you looking for?" I asked. I hate asking questions I don't want to know the answer to.

"Arthritis or anything out of the ordinary," she replied. "And cancer."

I spent the next week - that's how long it took to get in for the scan - crippled with fear. I tried to imagine how this was going to work. How I would get a toddler to treatments with two babies. I envisioned our lives changing and couldn't even picture the outcome. I went to church and for the first time filled out a prayer card.

While my husband stayed irritatingly calm.

"They're not looking for something," he said. "They're just ruling everything out."

This is such a perfect example of us. How I saw things one way and he saw them another. He thought this was a good thing while all I could picture were heartbreaking scenes.

Until the scan happened, I made a huge effort to think the same way he did. But on the day of the test, I watched as they put my 4-year-old under and then cried in the bathroom for 15 minutes until I could make it into the waiting area.

That child is now 15-years-old and in perfect health. But I feel like I'm back in that situation...without my husband's balance to get me through.