One of the worst things about motherhood is realizing that there is an above average number of things to worry about in a given day. Are they working too hard at something or not hard enough? Will they be safe or will something intervene in some awful, shocking, or unexpected way? Are they happy or going through a season of testing? Have I done all that I could or should to bring out their potential or will they sit on a therapist's couch one day ticking off all of my failures?
At least they won't end up on Oprah since she finally finished her show after 25 years...so there's that.
I have always been a little of a worrier although I have been in active denial for years. I consider it looking for the downside and preparing for it. Give me a situation and I can pretty much tell you the worst case, best case and expected case. Because I am an optimist...and' yes...I just heard some people yelling at the screen "Say What?"...I do tend to want the best case scenario. I see things as the best that they can be...and I know how wonderful something would be if all of the pieces could just fall into place. Sometimes this happens and I get to enjoy a season of wonder and the feeling that all is right with the world.
But seriously...I'm also fairly realistic too. I'm not under the delusion that my life issues can be solved in a one hour span of time with time for commercials. Not anymore. Big Dave fixed that tendency years ago by telling me that if I expected my life to be like some bizarre cross between the Brady Bunch and a mega-millions lottery winner...that I needed to pull my head out. Okay, maybe he didn't say it exactly like that...but he did tell me that I'd watched way too many sit-coms and movies with happy endings if I expected all of the loose ends of life to be neatly tied up. Life is messy. Good...but messy.
And while I want the best and will always go there first in my thinking...I now just happen to believe that the likelihood of this actually happening is about the same as me ever appearing in public in a bikini again. I mean...possible...but likely? No. So I end up pretty much dealing with any potential fallout from the worst case scenario...and then end up being delighted when the expected case actually happens.
Through the years, people have thought I was being negative or looking for the worst to happen when that's not really it at all. I've just learned to be more of a realist.
I'll see if I can illustrate this for you.
Last summer, Jill was presented at a debutante ball here in town. Her invitation to participate arrived in early October. The ball was in late July. At the time, it was impossible for me to find formal wear that would fit. I don't mean difficult. I mean impossible. I also knew that it would be hot as blue blazes in July...which meant that it had to be something that would not only fit...but have (gasp!) short sleeves. Finally, because we had expenses associated with her participation, dress, invitations, friends, hotel rooms, transportation, food, and a tux for Big Dave, we knew that we needed to be shopping somewhere that wouldn't require me to sell a kidney to be able to buy.
My thought process?
Initially (best case): I'll find the perfect dress. I'll be a size 8 and it will be easy! I'll find a coupon and get one from the sale rack that will fit like a glove. Losing weight and exercising will be fun and exciting now that I have a goal!
Worst case: I'll have to go to the Salvation Army and find a dress in size OMG! or just go purchase fabric at Hancock and wear it like a toga. Maybe nobody will notice.
What actually happened: I found a dress on the sale rack at Dillard's in a size that shall remain nameless but didn't have a W behind it...so I was fine. Rock on.
When it comes to a lot of things in life, I can just let it go. I honestly don't worry about every little thing. I even know that in Philippians 4:6-7 it tells me not to be anxious or to worry. (If I ever get a tattoo...which is totally not happening...this is really the verse I should imprint somewhere other than in my heart. I seem to quote it to myself more than any other.) I do well with the not worrying except in two major categories: social situations and my children.
The dress example above is what I mean about social situations. I stress over what I will wear because I don't have great fashion sense to begin with, I weigh more than I want to, and I don't have a lot of expendable income to devote to looking "cute."
When it comes to my children...I guess I just flat out worry. Big time.
Not that they give me a whole lot of reason to worry. I just do. It started with a tough pregnancy with Jill and continued through sleeping, potty training, daycare situations, getting into the right school, tuition payments, girl drama, busyness, cheerleading tryouts, middle school football, braces, glasses, ADD, boys, friends, crazy mothers, driving, competitions, Crohn's Disease, first girlfriend, grade point averages, ACT scores, prom dresses, college choices, more boyfriends, friends, sorority rush, car insurance, prom dates, and, of course, financing all of the above.
Even with all of that...I still feel like an incredibly lucky woman. I have friends who have a whole lot more on their plate to deal with than this. I have good kids...and I am blessed.
Of course, I understand that if you have children you never quit worrying about them. The focus changes...but that underlying feeling of wanting the best for them and feeling pain when they do is just part of motherhood.
At the same time, I don't want to be disrespectful of all of the blessings that God has showered on my family. I want to...no, I DO believe that He loves my children even more than I do...although I find that difficult to fathom. Perhaps when I let go of the worry...He will replace it with more joy and peace.
I personally think it's worth a shot. How's that for a best case scenario?