parentingworry

What Me Worry?

Chrisa Hickey5 comments1218 views



Someone once said, “Don’t worry about things that you have no control over, because you have no control over them. Don’t worry about things that you have control over, because you have control over them.”  I try daily to live by that philosophy.  This past weekend, I failed, miserably. 


I wrote a few weeks ago about my oldest son moving to Europe for a year for a fabulous internship.  I was – am – sad about him being so far away for so long, but I’m so excited he’s got this opportunity.  I was getting used to not knowing what’s going on in his life every day, then I opened Facebook and saw this: 


I was sitting in a restaurant with friends after day two of the NAMI Convention at the time, not the optimal venue to be in when learning that your son, thousands of miles away, has managed to do something to injure himself so severely that he’s on crutches.  I got that sick, prickly, nauseous feeling that  starts up around my shoulders but sinks into my stomach as rapidly as if I’d swallowed it.  And despite my best efforts to keep my composure in public, I started to sob.  I checked my email, and a note from my cousin (who lives near where he’s working) said she saw his status, took him to the hospital, and he has a deep hematoma in his thigh.  My mind immediately raced to thinking he has deep vein thrombosis, or he was badly injured at work, or he had an accident all alone in his apartment.  It was after 2 in the morning in Germany, but I was calling Tom to see if he could call Sandy to see what was going on, right then. One of my dinner companions, Cinda , said she was once told that persons (like me) who jump to a wildly extreme conclusion do so because they have a well-developed imagination.  And I was imagining the worst.  That he’d lose his internship.  That he’d be permanently injured.  Both.  

Meanwhile, in other worries, Tim is spending 10 days alone with my parents on vacation in Wisconsin.  He was SO excited to go, and my parents love him to death, and, after last year’s 4 day experiment of him visiting them going well, we decided to give it a go.  This is a different kind of worry. Tim has been doing incredibly well the past several months, but I’m still holding my breath at calling him stable.  Tim’s got a few quirks and rituals that, even if you know about them in advance, can be difficult to live with in the context of your day to day life, and my parents have their routine and the way they have come to expect things to be done, which could potentially cause Tim some anxiety.  And, frankly, as I say to my mom sometimes, they aren’t 65 anymore.  If, God forbid, Tim’s mood should turn or his psychosis kick in, I’m not super comfortable being a 5 hour drive away.  So every day my dad has projects for them to do and my mom has plans for cooking and going to the farmer’s market and riding go carts.  We check in with each other by phone, and my mom sends me email updates and questions as they come up.  That’s the plan we set up in advance.  But I still have some smoldering worry because, as much as they love each other, there’s no way for me to interpret between them when I’m not there.

It turns out Sandy’s accident was caused by a skateboarding snafu where he went down an incline too fast,  landed face first, and the cell phone in his pocket dug in to his thigh.  However, not only did his employer run over to care for him, but my cousin took him for x-rays and is now pampering him in her home as he recovers.  And, Tim reports he’s having a fabulous time with my parents and they are reporting that he’s helpful and in good spirits.  I have no control over Sandy anymore.  He’s an adult, he’s a continent away, and he is going to live his life, the good and the bad.  I do have – and did exert – some control over Tim’s visit to my folks.  We set up a plan to minimize stress and maximize fun for all three of them.  I’ve done the best I can do, and I can’t expect more of myself than that. 

5 Comments

  1. Aw, Chrisa – hugs to you. I can imagine your angst, all of it. Especially in the setting of trying to be at the NAMI convention. I'm glad to hear that both of them are doing well in spite of it all. But I would have worried exactly as you did. And I would continue to worry (exactly as you will) until things return to "normal."

  2. Sometimes, all we have are the facts at hand, the knowledge of the moment, and wondering about the what if's gets in the way of truly learning. Contingency plans are great, it seems like things are going ok with them. So the next time you're overwhelmed by the fretting and unknown, remind yourself of this time, when things weren't as bad as you feared. ((hugs))

  3. You probably have a form of PTSD. Just after my sister died from cancer, one of my kid's got ill and I imagined all kinds of things and it turned out to be relatively minor. You live every day waiting, waiting for something to happen so your reaction to your son's injury is totally understandable. Also, I'm sure he is a lovely boy, but I have two kids around that age and I would not be happy if they posted that as a FB status before talking to me. He should have known how worried you would be. Hoping that Tim has a great vacation and it sounds like you've done a lot to make that happen! I have no idea what it must be like for you, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, but you are doing a fantastic job.

  4. Nancy, so sorry about your sister. I tend to agree, that those of us that live with people with chronic conditions tend to have a hyper-vigilance about us. Call it PTSD or whatever, but we are on heightened alert to anything that may be anything. If that makes any sense.

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