In preparation for today’s blog post, I have been obsessively contemplating between two topics. One is light and airy, and feel-goody all around – while the other is basically an admission of insanity. I keep asking myself what I want my readers to think of me, and then I remember that I gave up caring! In a recent email exchange with a friend of mine, I realized that the two go hand-in-hand – so lucky you, today you get two for the price of one.
Our previous house, which was the one we brought DJ home from the hospital to, was situated on a corner. Her bedroom had a very large window that peered out onto the intersecting streets. Our front yard didn’t have a fence. I used to lay awake at night worrying that a drunk driver would come barreling over the sidewalk, across our grass and smack through DJ’s window toward her crib. I asked my husband countless times if we could switch bedrooms with DJ, but never gave him a good enough reason (I omitted the disturbing vision that I just laid out above for the whole world to read). At this point, I understand that you’re either laughing in horror or disbelief, or you’re seriously worrying about my well-being. I get it. It sounds so totally irrational when I say it out loud – but worries like these are completely and truly a part of my life.
I worry that DJ will wriggle free from my arms as I’m crossing the street and get plowed over by a semi truck. I worry that she’ll drown in our toilet in the middle of the night (despite our child safety lock, and the fact that she can’t even reach her door knob to let herself out of her bedroom). I worry that someone will break into our home, again, despite our alarm system, and somehow manage to snatch her from her bed while I am sleeping. I worry that she’ll stop breathing. I worry, worry, worry, about the most random and far-fetched scenarios.
This is the “admission of insanity” topic. This is the topic that I’ve wanted to share week after week after week after week – but it just felt too glum to put into writing. I’ve wanted to ask if any of you can relate, and I’ve wanted to say to anyone else who is haunted by such fears, “You’re not alone.”
I don’t worry about germs. I don’t worry about illness. I don’t worry about her choking on a grape. I don’t worry about her happiness. I don’t worry about her going hungry, or having her heart broken, or getting picked on in school. I don’t worry that she’ll grow into adulthood confused about what she wants or who she is. I just worry about the weird stuff.
Gosh, it feels so good to release all of that. BLAH…..
Now, the feel-good part….I am madly, deeply, and profoundly in love with my daughter. I have just made it through another storm (of tantrums), and am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (if only temporarily, as I know the tantrums will last for years, decades, lifetimes to come). I am seeing the sweeter side of DJ’s temperament, and am truly enjoying every second of her company. I anxiously await each day together, excited about what new words she’ll use, what facial expression she’ll try out, and what new discovery she’ll make in her world. I’m actually just in absolute awe of her….such a little person making such a huge impact. I find no greater joy than watching people light up as they interact with her. She’s truly a special girl.
I think it’s been the job. That part time job that I took on about six weeks ago has helped me gain perspective on things that I’ve been struggling with for almost two years now. You know, the “Who am I if I’m not working?” query. Now that I am directing my attention away from DJ 15 hours a week, I am allowing myself to accept that being a full time stay-at-home mom is a pretty damn important job. I am finally wrapping my head around the blessing, and pleasure, it is to have so much time with my girl. And, I am accepting that I am a really cool chick – job outside of the home or not….I rock.
So, how do the morbid and the merry topics relate? Well, I think that because I am so ridiculously in love with DJ, I have become consumed by thoughts of things outside of my control. Why I choose to agonize over the absurd scenarios that I do is beyond me…..except that, I have a lot of confidence in the things that I can control – like meeting DJ’s needs. It’s the things that could happen to harm her that make me nuts. It’s like running through a fire drill – if I am prepared (by way of pondering), then we can potentially avert the ramifications.
Truth be told though, I know there are more things out of my control than within it. I know that worrying won’t change the outcome of anything. I know that wasting my energy on such horrific thoughts is only harmful to myself – and my daughter. I also know that loving someone as unconditionally as I love my daughter comes with a huge responsibility to keep her safe and protected. I know that I am doing the best that I can. And, I know that she never ever ever needs to hear my irrational fears said out loud.
This is motherhood. It’s beautiful, and it’s terrifying. It’s bliss, and it’s angst. It’s trust, and it’s doubt. It’s control, and it’s surrender. It is a perpetual internal struggle, and yet it’s the most gratifying and transformational experience in the world. And I am grateful.