I woke up at 5 am this morning. I went from a dead sleep to, BAM! Eyes wide open. My heart wasn’t pounding. I wasn’t dreaming (that I can remember) ... and the voice in my head immediately said, “Taylor. You will die soon”
I mean, seriously. WTF.
As a person with high anxiety, this did not serve me well. I laid there, mind racing. “Taylor calm down. You aren’t even leaving the house today.” Followed by a list of ways I could die inside of the house. “Aneurysm. Shower fall. Stair fall. Stroke. Heart attack. Intruder attack. Random undiagnosed condition, strikes again!” I struggled to fall back asleep, and then awoke to the kids at another all too early hour.
The thought of my imminent death loomed.
I did my best to unpack all of this. “Taylor. This is crazy. This is anxiety. You know this is anxiety. Brene Brown did Ted talks on this. You’re mistaking an irrational thought for a gut feeling, calm down.” I did my best to talk myself off the ledge, but instead I found myself, in the sentiment of Tim McGraw, embarrassingly ... living like I was dying. The girls were being knuckleheads and Jackson was egging them on, but I bit my lip. “You don’t want their last memories of you to be you losing your shiz over a messy breakfast and silly squabbles.”, I thought. I took deep breaths, cleaned messes, offered snuggles, inhaled their scents, memorized smiles, and then headed up to the tub.
The tub was met with more chaos, tsunamis and the sort. I kept my cool even though inside I was a barrage of needless untimely-death-worries and clean-freak-melt-downs. Bodies were dried, clothes were picked. More patience was given, more love absorbed. We headed to my closet so I could change when I was overcome with emotion. How could I die? I have these children - these people who I desperately love - that NEED me. I need to be here for them. Hell, I WANT to be here for them. As I picked out my clothes, tears slid down my face.
Navy caught sight of my tears. Immediately she outstretched her little arms and said, “Mommy. Come to me. I make it better.” I knelt and melted into her embrace. She stroked my hair, and patted my back. And it was - perfect. It was an exacting comfort - one that both wrapped me in love, and reminded me that even when things are hard - the kids are turning out alright.
That hug didn’t melt away the anxiety, delightful as it were. The thoughts crept back into my mind. What the hug did do was gave me was a reason to silence it. (The anxiety) I don’t want to die, obviously. I’ll do my very best to avoid it. But more importantly, since I don’t get to decide on all that - I’m gonna make myself LIVE in the moment. Even the crazy ones. Even when I’m anxious and stressed and both girls are crying, Jackson is pouting (probably for more game time), Deco is barking, and the fire alarm starts chirping. Because - in this house that kind of chaos happens. Hourly. It’s kind of our signature flavor. Yes it is mayhem. Yes it’s stressful and overwhelming but ... I want to be here for it. Apparently I needed to have an anxiety attack to appreciate that I’m grateful to struggle through parenthood.
Maybe tomorrow I can practice this whole appreciation gig, but without the Grim Reaper hanging around ...
My husband thinks these voices are nuts and that I’m two steps away from entering a psych ward. But I swear I’m not crazy. I mentioned Brene Brown’s Ted Talk - it’s a treat, and probably just the medicine I currently need. Join me in watching ...