I Never Knew About The Worry

img_1713

 

There are a million things I didn’t know about motherhood; probably more. Above all else, looming atop the pile of all things parent I did not expect: worry.

For me it started before I technically even became a mother. During my first pregnancy there was cause for concern. At 20 weeks, our scan revealed some rare, never-heard-of condition– which may or may not be a big deal.

We’d have to wait and see.  

And that is what we did, every four weeks, between ultrasounds. Other mothers in my Birth-Prep class eagerly awaited any opportunity for ultrasounds; comparing experiences, euphoric and giddy. Sharing 3-D images they actually paid out of pocket to get.

My heart began to race just listening to them. Our monthly trips to the hospital were anxiety provoking and tense. Every time we arrived, we’d be greeted by our doctor and several more trailing in behind– who tried, but really couldn’t contain their excitement to marvel at our rare condition. Delighted with my defunct umbilical cord, they watched closely as a technician measured limbs and inspected organs.

Meanwhile, we waited in a state of panic to hear the words we found comfort in time and time again, until at last my son was born without incident or impairment 20 weeks later.

Everything is OK.

And it was, Ok. Elated, we brought our new baby home. My husband began the life lessons immediately, pointing out the “dos and don’ts” of future decisions on the drive home. Do go to Stanford (it was on the way, might as well plug it early). Do get coffee at Starbucks instead of Peet’s (this one was to bug me since I hardily feel the opposite). Don’t get a job waving a sign* not for real estate (like the guy waving an arrow on the corner to our left) or pizza (like the eight foot tall foam guy in ancient roman garb to the right). *Referring to the aforementioned Do go to Stanford will prevent this as a necessary career choice. 

We drove home worry-free, even laughing—until the middle of the night…that night…a mere 7 hours later.

Our baby made noises.

Noises we had not heard before. No one, no book, no DVD had told us about these noises. Really? Do all babies sound like this? We lie awake, wondering if something was wrong as we likened our new, precious infant to a Gremlin; who during daylight hours had been Gizmo, the fluffy, cute Mogwai. Now grunting and snarling in his co-sleeper, we feared the worst: would he stop breathing? We looked at each other and realized we had no idea what we were doing.

It was at that very moment that our timeline split in two: the us before children, and the us after.

Along with the noises that no one warned us about, the worry and the unknown became a present and familiar part of our day to day. As much as we love the family we’ve built, we both remember a time more carefree, more spontaneous, with much less responsibility.

Isn’t that really what sets apart now from then?  Now, we are indelibly on duty. We have taken on the insurmountable task of caring for something that by definition is impermanent.

Just when we have one thing down: swaddling, diapers, folding up the stroller in 27 steps or less…the dreaded car-seat install, just when we have it down, it changes again. 

Determined, we persist, with no instruction manual and no prior experience. Enter:worry. Are we doing this right? Are we providing our child with all we are supposed to? Nutrition, social skills, art, language, music, academics, the list goes on and on.

We are all at once teachers, students and parents. Meanwhile, the parts of us that existed prior to parenthood: careers, interests, hobbies, are feebly hanging on by a limb-trying to survive.

It is no wonder that everywhere we go, there are parents in all modes of themselves at once. They can be heard quizzing kids for beginning sounds of words in the back seat of Danny the Dragon at Happy Hollow-when all their kid wants to do is admire the simulated castle with Rapunzel and Snow White smiling at them from the window. One dreaming of Princeton, one dreaming of princesses; the juxtaposition of parent and child has begun. 

Others point out the dangers of the climbing structure and shout out warnings at every turn. Some are finding historical and mathematical significance in all the sandbox has to offer; gently explaining the physics behind every falling grain of sand before their child gleefully stomps down the castle. 

I have been all of the above. We are always multi-tasking. And it comes from a place of love. We worry about what we are teaching our children and what we are not; how to protect them, and how to prepare them. At the crux of our duplicity might be that we have lost something we were not prepared to lose: the ability to make decisions free of fear. 

In parenthood, nothing is black and white. We read everything we can get our hands on and concur with scientific reason, only to turn our back on it in a whim of emotion. Because as parents, we are often overcome with the weight of our love for our children. In trying to do the best for our kids, we often live in the grey area wondering if we are doing it right.

As parents, we are always waiting for the green light, the thumbs up. Then it sneaks up on us— a small body wrapped around our leg, a no-occasion handcrafted card, a proud Look-At-Me! glance from atop the climbing structure, a tiny, perfect hand in ours…telling us Everything is OK.

7 Things Trump Wants Us To Know That Speak Volumes

dreamstime_s_15469990

I sat down to watch the debates hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and wondering, What will Donald Trump do now? A mix of concerns swarm my mind when I picture a man like him running our country. 

How will he handle meetings with leaders of other nations? Will he allow other presidents, prime ministers and heads of state to feel heard and valued? Will he even listen?

What will happen when we have a wall keeping people out of our country? Or when people of certain religions are banned from travel?  How will already heightened racial tensions in our country ever be resolved?

What sort of judgement will he exercise in critical situations where a single decision could have catastrophic results? Will he think, consult others in his cabinet, consider all outcomes? Or lead with arrogance, act quickly, and use erratic judgement?

And what about women? How will we explain to young boys and girls that his way of thinking and dealing with women is. just. wrong? Sorry Ivanka, the jig is up.

Gripping my remote in one hand and a calming beverage of choice in the other I anxiously turned on the debate.

The candidates covered some predictable topics: budget, jobs, economy, international trade, tax reductions…the usual stuff. Not surprisingly it didn’t take long before Trump went off the rails and detoured just a little bit.

I think I’ll direct this next part to Donald.Yes? Is that OK? Donald. Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me. I want you to know that even though clearly important to you, some issues would not matter One. Tiny. Bit. if you were actually The President of the United States:

Whether or not anyone has called Sean Hannity. Presumably if you and Sean are so chummy, you would have his contact information and be able to clear all of this up with a quick call. (With all the other sound bites, clearing it up might be a stretch.) But IT DOESN’T MATTER what may or may not have been said over a decade ago, about a decision that already took place…if you are the one elected to handle what happens NOW.

Your club in Palm Beach. Congrats, you let people join your luxury golf club who weren’t white. I’m gonna guess they still paid the membership fee of 100k (give or take) so not altogether a civil-rights-worthy-act. No matter how much you pat yourself on the back or bask in the “great credit you’ve been given for it”,  you’ve got your work cut out for you. The answer to our country’s racial inequities and tensions cannot be found in a hotel or golf club that does what it’s supposed to do--abide by the equality act, which legally requires no one be excluded based on race. 

How much the Maybe-Not-Russian-hacker weighed who “hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s servers”. Seriously, They. Don’t. Exist. And if they did-their body type is irrelevant, and everyone realizes this-except you.

That you have property in Chicago. No offense Chicago; it’s just that in the grand scheme of things, owning property somewhere seems unlikely to impact the skyrocketing murder rate. But hey, reinstating a previously retired tactic deemed unconstitutional for racial profiling seems like a good start?!

How much money you say you are worth. Honestly, has a candidate’s worth ever been a factor in past elections? Does it make you more fit to lead? Less fit? What matters is how much you think it matters. It’s creepy. And if you are lying about it because of how much you think it matters…that’s just scary.

Rosie O’Donnell.  Just. No. No one is thinking about this during the first Presidential Debate of 2016!  Really. You are the only person in our country who would bring up Rosie O’Donnell. at. the. PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE! But since you did, how can you assume that everyone agrees with you and no one feels sorry for her? Really? In this whole country, everyone agrees with you about Rosie O’Donnell? According to psychology, this is false consensus, and it is dangerous. Especially when used by someone in a position of power to influence millions of citizens–on topics more complex than a public feud with a comedian.

Your winning temperament. The leader of a nation should have a level-headed temperament, a fair temperament, a composed temperament. But “winning”? First of all, is that even a temperament? Second, is there a competition, reality TV show, or pageant are we entering? No. Then you just keep your winning temperament for the boardroom. I’ll take sane for the White House, please!

You know what DOES matter if you plan on calling 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home anytime soon:

You think federal tax evasion is smart. You might want to ask any retiree receiving social security or Medicare how smart they think you are. While you’re at it, ask a teacher or veteran.

You interrupted Secretary Clinton 51 times. Yes, Mr. Trump, you spoke out of turn 51 times. Next time, we are giving Mr. Holt a talking stick to pass back and forth so you have a concrete reminder of when it is actually your turn to talk.

Your take on climate change. How do you feel? Is it a Hoax or not? Do let us know when you sort this out. My future grandchildren eagerly await your decision.

That clearly you are lying about your tax returns. Why? No really, just. Why?

“You take advantage of laws because you are running a company.” What will you take advantage of when you are running a country?

The housing crash was just good business. Nine million people lost their jobs. Five million people lost their homes, and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out. Who cares, if there’s a buck to be made.

These things you said at the debate matter. In the words of someone much more prepared, even-tempered and qualified to be our next president, ”Words matter. Words matter when you run for president, and they really matter when you are president.” 

Your words speak volumes, and I’ve heard enough.

This IS a Test

dreamstime_xs_61786646

No seriously, this really IS a test. I don’t know what I’m doing. Apparently there are things called ‘Widgets’, ‘Jetpacks’ and ‘Plugins’ and I NEED them if I stand a chance of anyone reading my blog. I could barely set this page up, so I REALLY have no idea if it will even be a blog. I’d be happy for a few words on a page…searchable on Google, or anywhere in cyberspace!

So while I don’t know how to set up a blog, make it look snazzy, promote it on social media, or ensure it’s user-friendly for anyone who actually wants to read it– I do like to write. I do like to share ideas. And I do like to try and make meaning of this frenetic and unpredictable life I am living.  If any of that sounds appealing to you, then by all means, read on…