Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hard Wired Worry

I will be the first to admit that I have irrational fears sometimes. I will wake up in the middle of the night worried about some stupid little thing I said to someone several days earlier. I will obsess over how I said it, whether or not it was taken the right way, or whether or not I offended someone. (Admittedly, these things are often something I said after a couple of drinks among friends. Oopsie.) And then I can’t get back to sleep. I will mull it over and over again until I want to staple my eyelids closed in the hopes that I can finally get back to sleep and wake up in a world where that irrational fear will simply be chalked up to me just being crazy.

Sometimes those fears aren’t over things that have happened. Sometimes they are fears of things that COULD happen. In order to explain my most recent erratic fear, I have to explain a little history. Greg and I have NEVER had an overnight without our children. NEVER. Braedyn just turned five. I’ll let that one sink in for a minute. It’s not from a lack of trying. First, when Greg turned 40 I had a big bash surprise party for him. I had a babysitter in place. I had a room booked. I had my bag packed. THEN. Then I realized it was the night before Easter. How could we NOT be there for our kids on Easter morning? Right. So, my plan was foiled. Second, last year we booked a room at the place where Greg’s work holiday party was. THEN. Then Braedyn’s tonsils had to be removed a week early and there was no way we would leave him with a babysitter overnight during his recovery.

So, my most recent irrational fear has to do with tonight. Our children are going to have their first overnight with their Grandma while Greg and I go to his work holiday party. She is taking our car, and driving Braedyn and Emily and two of her other grandchildren to her house. She is taking them to a parade of lights in her quaint little town. This leaves me and Greg with a whole night to ourselves. Alone. Well, except for pooper 1 (Koko) and pooper 2 (Charmin). This sounds great, right? Enter irrational fears. About things that COULD.

I won’t go into the thoughts that run through my head, but I would like to share what I have learned recently about my fears. I used to always blame my mom for getting her icky worry gene (sorry, Mom). And in a way, I was right. Apparently anxiety and worry is something that is hard-wired in your brain, so where experience can definitely add to your anxieties and fears, your foundation is often derived by the luck (or unluck) of the draw of your parents. Where my dad does not have the worry gene, my mom most certainly does. I often have to remind her that I AM in my thirties, and I will be fine going to the grocery store by myself. Really. I will. Thank you very much.

So, knowing this actually makes me feel like blaming my mother less. Knowing this has started a process of learning, learning how to manage these irrational fears. So, tonight I consider myself in that learning process. I don’t think these fears will ever go away thanks to that blasted hard wiring, but what I do see is a life where they are manageable. Tonight, Greg and I will have a great time. Tonight, my children will gain self-confidence as they have a night away from their loving parents. Tonight, I will trust. I know that I will make a couple of extra calls to make sure everything is going well, but I have also learned that that is okay. So, Grandma, make sure your cell is on.


  1. So She Says "What do you think of the post?"
    He Says "It was really good, I particularly like the finish"
    She Says (WORRYINGLY) "Are you sure?"

  2. We're really looking forward to tonight... hopefully your friends can distract you sufficiently from the worrying. :)