Parenthood Paranoia

Having kids is stressful. Understatement of the century said every parent in the history of parenting. More like once the seed is implanted every minute for the rest of your life will be peppered with what-if’s and Oh My God’s!

The other day as I dropped Lars off at school I noted a forlorn backpack just laying there in the middle of the sidewalk. To any normal human being, a backpack in the midst of an elementary school may not be too odd of a thing to come across. To me however, I think, that’s exactly what the terrorists want you to believe. Or maybe it’s the psychopaths that are targeting my child’s school. Perhaps an unbalanced lunatic freshly escaped from a nearby insane asylum. Yes, an insane asylum, because the mere thought of it is terrifying.

And what of this backpack I wonder as I linger menacingly outside the main doors of the school, not quite able to bring myself to return home. What could this mysteriously lonesome backpack be holding? All sorts of bloodcurdling antidotes begin to accost my mind. Because really, who would just leave a backpack all alone if not for some horrendous ploy of trickery and evil?

I am about to bolt at the thing and fling it out of the vicinity where my son waits in line with his schoolmates when a kid runs towards it and flings it over his back. “Don’t want to forget that!” A passing parent says to the child and the boy smiles back timidly.

I am now flabbergasted that my obsessive worrying was for naught. For a moment a run of the mill backpack had me tormented almost to panic. Was I the only one? Is there something wrong with me? Because I’ve never heard of other parents becoming this freakishly anxious over seemingly run of the mill occurrences.

Of course, this same day I am at my sister Ashley’s house, when I miss a call on my cell phone. It is from Lars’ school. My phone does this nifty thing when somebody leaves a voice message on it, it texts me the message. This is a great feature because I forgot my voicemail password long ago. The text says, basically, that Lars had bumped his head on something and was very upset about it and they were keeping him in for recess.

Strands of paranoia are now cutting off my air supply as I try to dial the number of the school back. My cell phone provider does not like Ashley’s house location however and all I get as I wait impatiently on the line is dead air. I try to compose myself. Deep breaths.

But my baby needs me!!!  This is what the crazy lady inside my head is screaming as I coolly ask Ashley to use her cell phone. My keys are being neurotically fiddled with in my hands to avoid her noticing them shaking. This is worse than the damn backpack incident I think to myself.

I get a hold of the school. I tell them I am Lars’ mom and I’ve had a call from his teacher. At first they aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about because, let’s face it, I am probably acting frantic and not taking the time to explain myself properly. Finally after a bit of edginess on my part and some good ol’ fashion tolerance on theirs they put me through to Lars’ classroom.

Turns out the poor kid basically walked into his open locker and jabbed his eye with the corner of the metal cabinet door. OUCH! I can imagine the kind of scream he laid out for them and I know it wouldn’t have been pretty.  It was Jamie’s day off work so I called him to go and pick Lars up from school. I just couldn’t bear Lars sitting there all sad and hurt with a shiner from the fight he had lost with the edge of the locker.

Upon pick up Lars seemed fine, but I was still happy to have him home so I could inspect the damage, which was actually quite miniscule, one of those hurts that you feel more than see I imagine. It makes me wonder if it will always be like this. Will I always be paranoid of the things we as parents cannot control?

And this is just Lars—my careful and cautious youngster. Wait until I start in on all of the things that keep me up at night when it comes to the wild and untamed Sophie!  Parenting definitely is a stressful endeavor…I think I’ll go and hug my mom now and tell her how amazing she is.


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