In general I have always been an anxious person; It’s been a joke for years that I am never really described as “cool, calm and collected.” It has taken years of school and reading and life, to find ways for me to cope with anxiety. And I would say that I have done a pretty good job over the years finding healthy coping skills to deal with my anxiety; like a solid 51% of the time.
In most areas of my life, I am able to use my education and tips I have learned to help with my irrational anxiety. And then I had children. You know how they say that “people plan and God laughs” I think it’s the same with children. You have a plan, and you think you know exactly how it will go, and then you have children and it all goes up in laughable smoke.
When it comes to raising our children, I feel like I have a healthy balance of neurotic worry and rolling with the punches. With our first, I was never one to really worry about a fever, or a cough; Rub some boob milk or coconut oil on it and move on. Then came along our second child. Let me preface the following, with the fact that overall, our children are very healthy, and we are very blessed to have never had to deal with any major illnesses or health related issues with our girls.
Then last fall around her second birthday, our youngest woke up from a nap and it was one of the sickest feelings I have ever encountered. She had a crazy high fever, and sounded wheezy and was coughing; she sounded like a seal. Croup. I rushed her to her pediatrician and her confirmed what we knew. It was croup, we would need to be admitted to the hospital immediately as the doctor was fearful of her airway closing. It was a quick, yet awful stay in the hospital.
Fast forward to today. Anytime one of the girls, but especially our youngest gets a fever or cough, I start internally panicking; this quickly escalates to external panic. Today, our youngest woke up burning up; I tried to stay cool, wait it out and see if perhaps she just got overheated while sleeping. She seemed stuffy and as she breathed I felt as though she was wheezy and congested. Instantly my thoughts went to croup. Basically this is parenting in a nutshell; loving someone so much and just generally, constantly being terrified.
By lunch, I realized I was neurotically watching her and asked my husband if he would just give me his opinion on her health when he came home for lunch. He knows me well, and knows that when I ask a question like this, I’m generally starting to spin out. Shortly after, he came home and helped me give her medicine (it’s a two person job), and sat with his hand on her chest for a good while to monitor her breathing. He knows my anxiety, even when I don’t immediately state it. He talked with me about her breathing and fever and we both concluded that the fever needed treatment, but breathing was not an issue.
Here’s where we get to the good part. It was a long day with a sick kiddo. She needed a lot of attention and snuggles, and that makes for a long day. Before he came home, he picked up dinner and wine, because he knew what the day had been. He also suggested that we put her to sleep in our bed with us, because he knows that otherwise I will be up all night worrying if her fever has spiked. And when we crawled into bed after watching way more episodes of Grey’s Anatomy than he would prefer, he rolled over and put his hand on her chest to go to sleep. Without speaking, without saying a word, he knows exactly what we need. In that moment, as I watched him casually just place his hand on her tiny body, to monitor her breathing I was overcome with gratitude. Gratitude for the man he is. Gratitude for the husband he is and the father he is to our little girls. Without speaking a word he knows exactly how to create ease and comfort in a situation that I easily blow out of proportion. In general, I know how lucky I am to have married him, but today and tonight, watching him, makes me truly appreciate him and our marriage. Tonight instead of counting sheep to go to sleep, I count my blessings.