The Thing I Most Greatly Feared…

So, it’s late. I should be in bed. Sleeping. I should be sleeping. I should not be on the couch, with my laptop open, typing as if my life depended on it.

And yet, here I am. Clickety-clacking my way into oblivion.

I am tired, but can’t sleep. And when I can’t sleep, I write. No warm milk or shot of whiskey for me, just getting my thoughts out of their frenzied turnings, and onto paper. And by paper, I mean computer screen.

In less than 10 hours, my 6 yr old will be taken back for surgery. Then one of my 9 yr old twins, followed by the other. A couple of hours later, and we should all be home, resting somewhat comfortably in the safety of our living room.

I have done everything humanly possible to prepare for this day. I have filled the pantry and refrigerator to the brim with Costco’s entire line of frozen, liquid, and semi-liquid goodies. If you don’t have to chew it to get it down, we have it. All favorite pajamas have been washed and folded. Educational and not-at-all-educational movies have been added to our Prime Watch List. Math for the week, has been done in advance. The meal plan for the rest of the family has been created with my playing nursemaid 24 hrs a day in mind. Favorite stuffies are ready to comfort. All the paperwork has been completed, even the insurance forms, in triplicate.

And yet. I am not ready.

And I know, I KNOW, that other people are dealing with worse. I fully realize that I am blessed beyond measure to have healthy children, whose biggest current health concern is their scarred tonsils. There are a million women out there, dealing with daily hard things, making it through what would bring most of us to our knees, and doing so with grace and a kind of dignity that has yet to knock at my door. I get that. I just also get that this is harder than I thought it would be.

Can we all just agree on the fact that children are amazing? Can we stop arguing long enough to come to the same conclusion that our kids are the very best parts of life? Yes, sometimes hardest, but still humblingly awesome. They are THE BEST, right? Of course, right! Absolutely right.

Whatever they need, I’m game. I’ve been like a giant, live, gelatinous blob, ever since my first positive pregnancy test. And I don’t just mean my midsection. Moms are changlings in high-waisted pants. Whatever cards are dealt, we can turn it into the winning hand.

So far, my 5 little darlings and I have made it though (for them, not me) a total of 7 surgeries, 4 cavities, 2 horrible seizures and resulting hospitalizations, 2 lost big toe nails (bouncy castles are brutal), 1 swallowed lithium battery by a then 18 month old, exactly 34 ear infections, and approximately 1,896,203 colds. I purposely did not include or tally the bouts of diarrhea or flu, because that doesn’t need a number, it needs a moment of silence. Or two.

So, this, should just be par for the course. But it isn’t, because nothing with your kids ever is. It is still surgery, still anesthesia, and still my babies. And, yes, it still hurts in a why are my hands so cold and my chest so shaky, kind of way.

But now, I’m thinking. I’ve always been afraid of a million things, and most of them have never been valid. So maybe, just maybe, if I type them out, and add tomorrow to the list, it will seem a little less daunting. Let’s try it together, shall we?

Sharks. Sharks in all forms, including but not limited to, sharks that somehow find their way into dark swimming pools and large bathtubs. I don’t know how they would do that, and yes, I understand freshwater vs. saltwater vs. chlorine. But any shark that could bottleneck its way into a pool to attack you, is clearly a hybrid and doesn’t play by your water rules, mkay?

What else? Mice, obviously. Every scene from the 1970’s Left Behind movies that my parents made me watch as a kid. And while we’re here, the Rapture happening without me. If you ever need to laugh at someone else’s pain, I have more than one story about packing my bags as a preteen, when my parents stayed out later than expected….you know, before cell phones…which was great.

Spoiling my children, or not hugging them enough. Letting them make the wrong decisions, but also, protecting them too much. Getting foot disease from my vain pedicure habit. People thinking I’m racist, or facist, or anything other than what I am. Falling in public, that’s a big one. Also, it totally happens, pretty regularly.

Oh, let’s see… anything that pertains to gas in social settings. Mine, not yours, you didn’t offend me.

Not knowing the puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune, even though I hardly ever watch TV. Failing, ever, at anything. Never being carded again. Certain kinds of technology. Wasting our resources on things that don’t matter. The way people drive around my children on the freeway. Being arrested, for any reason. Running out of coffee. No one liking me. My hair staying this frizzy. Buying everyone at Christmas the wrong thing. Hearing my own voice on answering machines. The day that my children no longer ask me to sing.

Yep, I think that about covers everything. At least, most things. But not tomorrow, which is now almost today. Tomorrow will have worries of its own. But if life with five kids has taught me anything, it’s how to be brave. How to keep going, even when I feel afraid.