This was my primary thought as I lay in bed in the fetal position this past Valentine’s Day, sick to my stomach over a very rich Love Day lunch that my stomach was rejecting in the most painful way possible. I had 30 minutes to pull myself together and pick my son up from school, and I could barely even open my eyes because it hurt so badly. I was dying….or at least it felt like it. But if I didn’t get up and drive myself to my son’s school, he would be left abandoned on the side of the playground, wondering where his mom was while all the other kids disappeared with their parents one by one.
It’s funny how simple thoughts can become full blown panic attacks when you are sick. I had delusional worries rotating through my mind on a rolodex* of stresses I’ve been placing on the backburner to deal with on a different day.
What am I doing, being a single mom? Am I fooling myself into believing I can actually hold down a job, get my kids to school, pay the rent and bills, feed my family, and not have it all blow up and fail as a parent on my own? What happens if I do lose my job? Who will the kids rely on? And what if I were to get sicker than this? How would the kids get to school, eat dinner, and have clean clothes to wear? Could they manage without me? Do I want them to manage without me? And what about when we move in with Mr. W in a few months? Is it ok to expect him to pick up the slack if I’m under the weather? Am I even ready for this next step of living with another human being, relying on him while he relies on me? I’ve spent so long relying on myself, doing for myself, making it all happen on my own step by step….
Was I ready to let go a little and allow someone to walk beside me in this thing called life, to give my kids someone else to rely on if I was under the weather or incapable of fulfilling whatever needed to be done?
*side note: I actually forgot the word for “rolodex” while writing this, and had to ask around about what that thing was that people used to use to record their phone numbers and addresses. I almost got a dictionary** thrown at me by someone who still had a rolodex on their desk.
**dictionary: a large book with words that people used before Google and Dictionary.com
When my sister was visiting from San Diego, she asked if she could pick the kids up from school so she could spend more time with them. As I mapped out the directions of the exact place she needed to be so that the Taz could find her, where to park so that DQ could locate her, and gave her detailed instructions on the best way to drive to get there, my stomach tied all up in knots. As I write this, my stomach is tying up in knots. I am a control freak when it comes to my kids, and it seriously gives me panic attacks to let someone else take over for me when I have perfected their schedule to the tiniest detail. To let someone else do it for me is putting a wrinkle in the system. They might not do it right. They might even get lost. My kids will get that feeling of hopelessness when they aren’t picked up on time, believing they’ve been forgotten. I almost scrapped the whole thing and just told my sister to meet me at a mutual spot after I’d picked up the kids for her.
“This is ridiculous,” my sister told me, refusing my offer and insisting she would be fine. And she was. She picked up each kid and then texted their anal mom to let me know they were safe and sound in her car.
And on Valentine’s Day, as I lay hunched over in bed, I forced myself to dial my father’s phone number to pick my son up from school, knowing full well that I needed help – and there was no other choice but to ask for it. My son was home 30 minutes later, and I lay in bed with a few more delusional stresses before I magically woke up out of it and was alive once again.
If something were to happen to me, I have people around to help. My family, my friends….and Mr. W. In fact, one of the things that drew me to him most was how capable he was in life. If he can handle the daily stresses of daily life as a single father and all that goes with it while also juggling the very same things I’m juggling in my own life, I’m pretty certain he can handle dropping my kids off at school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon if I happen to be too sick to do it on my own.
I just need to learn to give up control and ask for help when I need it.