The birth of our grandchildren, Tanner and Annika, has set my poor husband, David, on a journey of worry.
Tanner was born via C-section and Jess developed post-eclampsia shortly after he was born. When Jess went home from the hospital, she was back to her “I’m not a baby, I can do this myself” self. Even though we would have been happy as clams to hover over her and help with little Mr. T that is not what she wanted, so we stayed home and waited for her to need us. David wrung his hands in worry that she was not getting enough sleep, needed to rest more, needed help with the house and needed someone to help in the night with the baby. A few months later he was obsessed with worry when Jess went back to work. How in the universe was his sweet little brown eyed baby going to juggle working, being Super Mom to Mr. T, loving wife to Chambliss and still keep the house, cook the food, do the laundry and on and on.
Christi developed pre-eclampsia leading to our little Annika Baby being born six weeks premature. I stayed with Christi and Kenny helping out with the round the clock feedings, keeping up the house, the laundry and the shopping, all the while doing this Momma’s best to keep Christi on the couch to rest. When I came home, our sweet little Annika Baby was still waking up every couple of hours acting like she hadn’t eaten in her life, only to gobble down about two ounces and collapse into a milk coma once again. As my daily updates from Christi came in, David began to worry that Christi was going to wear herself out trying to keep up with a baby that ate every two hours, a husband that had gone back to work, a house that needed cleaning, laundry that needed to be done and meals that needed to be prepared. When Christi packed Annika Baby up and flew home for Halloween, David worried about her getting through airport security juggling a baby, stroller, diaper bag and luggage.
Throughout the fall, I watched and listened (ok not always attentively) as David spiraled down his black hole of fretting. It was when Christi and Kenny announced their Christmas plans that my Mr. Worry Wart shifted into high gear. The kids were going to drive 13 hours to spend Christmas with Kenny’s parents in Colorado. David was a dither with worries for weeks. I was the daily sounding board to his irrational fears. They were leaving too late in the afternoon, what if they fell asleep while they were driving. What if the weather got bad and they were stuck on the highway? Annika is very sensitive to cold so what happens if they break down and don’t have adequate blankets for her. He even was going into a deep analysis of how many times they would have to stop for feedings and diaper changes and how this would impact an already long overnight drive. So on and on, day after day, the list of worries that David was obsessing over got longer and longer until finally I was at my wits end with this man and his over active worry gene.
Attempting to bring some reason to the table, I launched into a laundry list of things I did with the kids asking Dave, “Where was your worry wart gene then?” I don’t remember David worrying about me when I was getting up all hours of the night with the kids, going to college full-time; keeping up the house, the laundry, the cooking, the shopping and all the other things that got done while he was at work every day. I don’t remember David giving a second thought to when I came home from the hospital after giving birth to Jess, only to find out my other two kids had the chicken pox? Where was this Mr. Worry Wart when I packed up three kids under the age of 5 and moved to Murfreesboro by myself so that Matt could start Kindergarten with his classmates, living in a house with no furniture or A/C in August? I certainly don’t remember Mr. Worry Wart being the least bit concerned when I put a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and an 8 month old in the car after school on Friday afternoons to make the 9-hour trip back to Chicago to go see Daddy for the weekend. This was well before the advent of cellphones. If you broke down on the highway you were hoofing it to the next exit praying that it would have a gas station with a payphone and a phone book to call a tow truck. I don’t remember this guy flipping out when I actually did breakdown on the side of the road on my way down to Florida with the girls, having to get a cash advance on a credit card before cash advances were known to exist and having to convince a tow truck driver that hadn’t left his home town in 10 years that it was a good idea for him to drive me, my two girls and my broken down Suburban 115 miles to our destination in the middle of the night.
“But that was you” David said quizzically. “Why would I worry about you? When we met you were a strong, independent woman with a little baby of her own. I’ve never known a “little” Kae who needed anyone’s help. But the girls are still my little princesses who crawled up in my lap after dinner, who I tucked into their beds at night and sang the wake up song to every morning. They will always be my little sweeties, no matter how big they get and I always want to be there to help them if they need me.”
Okay, I know we have been married for over 30 years and that in that time my master-debater husband has learned how to shut me down from time to time but this response left me both proud and frankly speechless. Now when Mr. Worry Wart rears his irrational head, instead of getting peeved that he never worried about me like that, I just keep reminding him that his girls are genetically linked to their Momma. We are all strong, independent Allen women and can do anything we set our minds to.
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