Unexpected Gifts

by Laura

So my boy’s been sick. Nothing life-threatening. That hardly matters, as it takes very little to trigger my anxiety. He gets sick, I get twitchy, I stop eating, that triggers a migraine, and the next thing you know I’m down eight pounds, horribly depressed and my life becomes, to me, nothing but a world of laundry and fear.

Overly dramatic? Kind of want to tell me to get over it and put on a brave face for the kids? Yeah, so does my husband, which doesn’t help. Thing is, I’ve been a babysitter, a nanny, a daycare worker… I’ve been barfed on plenty. Anxiety goes where it goes, and since 2007, it’s gone toward noroviruses. I lose my shit. I’d rather be afraid of mice or bears or clowns or something. But it’s not up to me. My brain has chosen to focus on something invisible, sudden and practically unavoidable. Bleach, Lysol and handwashing. That’s what I’ve got in my arsenal. That’s what it takes. But you can’t realistically bleach the world, especially when you have kids, so here we are.

They get sick and I take Zofran, just trying to be the mom they need.

Okay so anyway, a neighbor came by to give my kid a balloon. I was so f***ing touched. Seriously. She doesn’t really care about me, but she’s always been very patient with my son, listening to him talk and talk and talk at the bus stop. He adores her. He calls her My Friend Stephanie. And she brought him a balloon. And it showed me that someone besides me cares about my kid, even a little, which tore me to pieces. They’re such great kids. They deserve to be loved and worried about. I hate that they don’t have my mom to love them anymore.

The balloon is still floating a week later. I’ve said thank you, the kid has thank you, but I doubt the neighbor will ever know how much it meant to us.

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