The weekend I left for college, my mom had my room repainted, my furniture moved to the crawlspace, and purchased a Golden Retriever. She says that the reason she was smiling and humming excessively at that time was because she was trying to feign excitement for much anticipated departure. Uh-huh, right. My mother never suffered from one solitary second of “Empty Nest Syndrome” and is delighted to tell everyone she encounters of her psychological strength. Surprised I did not end up more screwed up than I already am? Me too.
On the other end of the parenting spectrum, my daughter started first grade this week and I was ready to have a nervous breakdown. My old friend, Anxiety, flew in unexpectedly to assist me with all the necessary preparations. In fact, we were at the grocery store together and I was stocking up on little fruit snacks and juice boxes and I was feeling altogether morose when Anxiety and I got into a heated discussion on the bottled water aisle.
ANXIETY: You could just home school your kids. Then, you would know where they were and what they were doing all day long and you could pacify your latent control issues…..
ME: I realize this but I am not entirely sure I could do first grade math.
ANXIETY: But what about bullies, school shootings and all the germs. Need I remind you that you only breastfed her for 18 months, good mothers are able to go much longer. Her immune system could be compromised. Are you even sure you maintained eye contact and formulated a healthy bond?
ME: I know, it is tearing me up but I start to twitch uncontrollably and curl into fetal position when I am with the precious little darlings all the time.
ANXIETY: She wants to ride the bus. I cannot believe you agreed to this. Did you forget the 3 P’s? Pollution, Parasites and Pedophiles. Danger is lurking around every corner waiting for that one unsuspecting moment to pounce.
ME: Um, what? On my intestines? Look I just want to be able to blame someone else if my kids turn out to be screw-ups. And who better than their first grade teacher? Just yesterday my daughter said that she “wished school would start even sooner” because I told her it was time to put her scooter away and come take a bath. So you see, she cannot wait to get away from me.
And then because I was totally distracted by Anxiety, I bumped into a shelf of water and ten glass bottles came crashing down. Awesome. I grabbed some paper towels off a shelf and dragged a trashcan over and cleaned up the giant mess I made. I then walked over and told the store manger what I did and that I would pay for it. She started laughing until she looked down at my leg and realized I had cut myself. This is when Anxiety decided to jump over and fuck with her head for awhile.
She totally thought I was going to sue the store. Unlikely. When I go to the store I sort of expect things to be on the shelves. I am fairly certain the bottles did not jump off and try to shank me with all the eye witnesses roaming around. And furthermore, it was my actual ass cheek that negligently caused the accident. But here is the point: Anxiety is like having an over bearing mother-in-law and not living in a gated community so theoretically she can show up any time she wants, unannounced, with a one way ticket. And while I occasionally appreciate Anxiety’s unsolicited advice, I am 100% sure I do not want to home-school and I will not sue the grocery store. Fair enough, 95% on the home-school. Final answer. XO