It’s the worst thing about me, my propensity for worry. Well, along with my terrible temper, frustrating stubbornness, and inability to keep a place clean for more than two hours. And, you know, all the other things about me that aren’t rainbows and butterflies.
But the worry is a problem. It saps my oomph and prevents me from enjoying the small things, like the surprise of an almost-autumnal day in August, or the anticipation of a fence almost finished, or this child of mine who is so darned snuggable I spent all day with him in my arms (as my poor wrists can attest to). He’s changing every day; already I’m wistful for the skinny little birdie he was when he was born. “Open wide like a little birdie!” I’d say to him as we worked on his breastfeeding latch. And he would, a wide open birdie mouth on a scrawny little neck. Almost two weeks of room to grow and he’s looking like a chunky little birdie now.
Instead, I think about all the ways life will be hard for my son, all the times he’ll be frustrated or disappointed or down, and already I feel slightly impotent at not being able to prevent that. I worry that he’s not pooping enough (after spending last week worried that he was pooping too much). I worry he’s getting increasingly vocal about being hungry because my attempts to insist he breastfeed lead him to believe we starve newborns for fun. I worry I’m not trying hard enough to make breastfeeding a success because I haven’t done that nursing vacation thing they suggested where one takes the baby to bed and does nothing for two days but feed and sleep.
Vacation, my ass. That sounds like a recipe for a sad puddle of downtrodden me. I’m having a hard time today because I spent all day at home, for heaven’s sakes. Banishing me to the bedroom would not be a good thing for any of us. And yet, despite knowing this about myself, I feel bad – that I’m not the kind of person who would call that a vacation, the kind of person who would go to those lengths to ensure she could breastfeed her son, that the kind of person I am figures formula was good enough for numerous people she considers smart and successful. While I may not have been able to articulate why I’ve put off heading to bed with my kid for two days, the feeling that I shouldn’t was one I heeded.
And yet, I worry. I still don’t call him a name, sticking instead to nicknames like “Mister Mister” and “The Little Dude” and “Sweet Pea” – and I worry about that.
Perhaps parenthood is giving me the opportunity to deal with these less than savory parts of myself, choosing another way for the sake of my son rather than allowing The Worry to take over. Perhaps it’s time to just set the worry aside and live.
“If I don’t worry, what will I do?” I asked my therapist many years ago.
“Just live. Breathe and live and enjoy,” he replied.