This prompt is an easy one for me. Hands down, the number one thing I’m most afraid of is something happening to someone in our family. This fear has a few different dimensions and truly controls my entire life. First, for obvious reasons, like every other parent on the planet, the thought of one of my children becoming horribly ill or worse makes me sick to my stomach. I’m not even going to write anything else about it because I can’t even think about it further.
The other dimension of this fear is a little more extreme because I think about it often. The thought of my own illness or death terrifies me. Not in the sense that I’m afraid to go through something difficult or even afraid to die, but more along the lines that I’m afraid to be unable to care for my family or see them through their own lives. This fear definitely comes from my experience with the sudden and unexpected death of my grandmother, who was a second mom to me. Losing her was by far the worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my life and I never want my children to feel that. Ever. I never want them to wish that their mother had been there at their graduation or wedding or wish that she had met their babies. I also don’t ever want them to have any semblance of a difficult life. Going through the trauma of losing a parent as well as then growing up in a single parent household or dealing with a blended family would be rough. I don’t want the loves of my life to feel any of the pain that would come from this sort of experience. This goes for Josh too. The thought of leaving him to care for 3 kids as a single parent terrifies me. The thought of him feeling that pain and still needing to hold it together to care for our babies by himself makes me sick. It is my responsibility to these people to make sure that I’m around as long as possible, for them.
The fear of not fulfilling my responsibility to them is what controls my life. I spend extra money to buy organic food. We eat more vegetarian meals than meat. I don’t clean with any sort of chemical cleaners. I only buy natural body products for our family and I rarely wear make up. I don’t tan or get manicures or dye my hair. I don’t smoke or consume artificial sweeteners. I exercise regularly and get 8 hours of sleep most nights. I try to talk on my cell phone as little as possible and I never speed. I take medication as little as necessary and drink water like an addict. I visit a million different doctors regularly and go through the embarrassment of an annual full body dermatological exam. Sounds a little crazy, right? But I don’t care. Even if I die tomorrow from some freak accident, at least my kids will grow up knowing that I did everything I possibly could to be here for them. Josh gets a little annoyed with my neuroses sometimes, like when he wants to vacation to an island without our kids for his 30th birthday but I’m too afraid to fly. Or when our kids say things like “my friend gets to eat vacation cereal every morning for breakfast” (vacation cereal is the breakfast the boys get to eat if we’re on vacation or traveling, like lucky charms, fruit loops – or colored cheerios as the boys call them, etc). I do feel guilty about some things on Josh’s behalf. I know that a lot of the things I do are irrational but it’s just something that he understands and accepts for now. I truly believe that as the kids and I get older, I will be less cautious. One day, I may even be a normal, functioning person. Ha! Maybe one day.