Monsters in the closet. The adult version.

This morning I sit here with my Trader Joe’s coffee in my travel mug with nice Gap and Old Navy clothes on.  I have on cute little knee high striped socks a showing off my whimsical side and new Naturalizer fashionable mom shoes to be practical.

I have on my Mema’s earrings to remind me of her and ground me to my roots.

I am sitting in an office on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta with a steady job that both allows me freedom and provides structure. My boss is happy with my work.

My bills are paid. 

I have healthy food in my frige for my family to eat.  

Even my ex-husband is being nice and is no longer an active source of stress. 

Above all else, I have 3 amazing kids and a wonderful husband who loves and supports me.  We are working together to build a safe and comfortable life for our family.

I am on top of things.  I really am.

And I sit here scared out of my mind. 

I have never felt more together and lucky… and more completely phony in my entire life. 

I also feel bad for feeling that way.  I am trying to cope in the best way I know how and I think it looks like I am doing a good job of it.  But I feel the overwhelming pressure of responsibility and the fear it brings like some monster lurking in the closet. 

It is not the fear of something specific.  I never had the kind of imagination that gave a form to the monster in the closet or under the bed, even as a child. Oh, there was certainly a monster. However, the far more terrifying aspect of my monster was that it had no form at all.  And in not having a form it was even more horrifying because I was certain that it was worse than anything I can imagine. 

And I could imagine some pretty bad things.

At Rants from Mommyland they call the sometimes irrational (but mostly totally rational because, as a parent, you spend a good deal of time trying just to keep kids alive, despite their best efforts to kill themselves) fear that something horrible and unknowable is going to happen to your children The Fear

My Fear is a little different.  It is tinged with the knowledge that when that one horrible thing does happen, it will be my fault.  A bit dramatic, I know, but I come from a long line of drama queens, so it is completely understandable.  [It always has to be about me, right?  After all, I am the center of my universe.  Yeah, give me a break, uh?]

I have young children who I have to vigilantly watch – and sometimes I forget that they are watching me just as much, maybe even more.  How about that for a monster?  Scary enough for you?

I used to want to crawl into my bed and pull the soft, sheltering blankets over my head and not emerge until the storm of fear had passed and the day (and my mood) was once again calm and refreshed.  I think I am going to actually do a version of it this weekend. 

But the difference will be simple – and beyond important.  I will have Jay and Sawyer with me.  I will have Sawyer to hold in my arms and teach me about what is really important in this life.  And I will have Jay to hold me in his arms and make me feel safe and loved and protected and encouraged. 

I will order take out tonight and we will get into our bed together and spend hours playing and talking and watching tv.  I will not be lonely.  I will not be afraid.  There, in the literal nucleus of my home and family, I will find my solace. I will banish my fear.

Please, please can I go home now?

  1. At age 59, with my only son out of the nest, I am still dodging invisible monsters. They shape shift, so they’re hard to spot. This affliction surely seems like something a merciful universe would allow us to grow out of, doesn’t it? Marni, I so share this with you. For almost a year now, I’ve been in some altered universe of panic, which doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. Any night with more than 4 hours sleep is a dream, any day I can ingest more than 500 calories due to the swollen knot of fear in my belly is a victory.

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