Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Worry Monster

I have always been a worrier.  Always.  Despite my best efforts, I have never really been able to shake the worry gene.  I know it is not only unproductive, but it is usually counterproductive.  I know it doesn’t help anything.  I know it is useless.  And I know that it isn’t the way God wants me to live life…worrying about everything.  Yet, I can’t make myself completely stop worrying.  Usually, I am able to keep it at bay – I don’t sit around anxious all the time.  In fact, most days the worry monster doesn’t even present itself.  And I can focus on cute things like baby pajamas with cute backsides...

I think the worrying has something to do with my desire to control everything, because the things I worry about are the things I don’t know, the things I can’t control.  And, as you might imagine, motherhood has brought a whole new face to the worry monster.  A face, believe it or not, I don’t see all that often.  But when I do, it isn’t pretty.

I will go weeks without worrying about how baby girl sleeps or eats or plays or develops and then suddenly an idea will plant itself in my head and I will worry.  Without ceasing…until miraculously the idea leaves just as quickly as it came.  For instance, shortly before bed a couple of nights ago I made the tragic mistake of reading something online  about SIDS.  Annie is even past the age where SIDS is most common…and she hates being on her tummy so obeying the “back to sleep” advice of our pediatrician and everyone else has never been an issue and has taken her out of that higher risk category of belly sleepers.  But somehow, reading about that convinced me that something was going to happen while she slept – something bad.  So I checked on her no fewer than three times between the time she went to sleep at 7:30 pm and the time I went to sleep at 10:30 pm.  Then I woke up at 2:00 am, for no real reason, and decided I should check on her again.  Each and every time, she was, of course, sleeping peacefully and (thank goodness) soundly, so she didn’t notice her crazy mama standing next to the crib listening to her breathe.  Useless, useless worry.  

A tote bag big enough for a baby...and, more importantly, big enough for all of her stuff when we travel.

No sooner had I successfully reasoned with myself that my six month old was not, in fact, going to suffocate than Annie came down once again with a runny nose.  This time a barking cough accompanied it, so while she slept in her crib it sounded every once in a while like our dog was announcing visitors from her room.  So I put my worry pants back on and picked up all the “baby’s first year” books I had finally ripped myself away from months ago to look up what this might be.  Any guesses?  Yep, it’s most likely a common cold.  A cold which leaves her looking like this a lot…

But a cold that certainly is far from life-threatening.  Again with the useless, useless worry.

In light of my decades long worry habit I made a resolution this year.  I don’t often do this, and when I do resolve to do something it is usually pretty boring and uncreative, like losing 10 pounds or running more often.  But this year I decided something has to give with the worrying, so I resolved to do something about it.  I decided to live in the moment.  Period.  Because when I’m living in now I can’t worry about the future.  I can’t worry about what I don’t know if I try with all my might to focus on what is real and clear and present.  Or so my thinking goes. 

I realize this whole living in the moment business is not a novel idea.  In fact, I probably stole it from a close friend of mine who I’m pretty sure posted something about that on Facebook recently (my apologies, MB).  But no matter how I arrived at the plan to be more focused on the now, I think it’s a good idea for me.  Not only will it hopefully keep me from heading down unreasonable and unhelpful paths of thinking, it will also help me appreciate what is going on right this second more.

As I think many moms are prone to do, I think a lot about where we will be as a family and where Annie will be in a few weeks, a few months, a few years.  I wonder when she will take her first steps, what her first sentence will be, and how much hair she will have by her first birthday (Mama really wants to be able to put a bow on that blonde head for her party!).  All things I don’t need to think about yet.  I find myself wondering already whether we will try for a baby #2 and, if we do, when said baby may arrive.  I know there is no reason to think about that yet – I know David and I are both 100% content with one baby thank you very much right now.  And maybe we always will be.  So why think about that now?  Well, because I’m not living in the moment; I’m not focusing on the now.

So here I am, resolving to do better.  Resolving not to clutter up this beautiful now I’m living in with nasty, useless thoughts about a future that is uncertain.  Because the future is always uncertain.  That’s just how it is.  And even if I knew what was going to happen to all of us as the years pass, I wouldn’t want to miss any of my now moments.  
Who would want to miss this?  (And please excuse my poor blush application.  Apparently, I went a little overboard that day.)

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