Worry is a powerful thing.
Anxiety is probably my worst enemy in life. Sure, I worry about things that normal people worry about, but most often, I worry about things I fully recognize I absolutely cannot control, which is more than disturbingly neurotic. I even worry about how much I worry. And this worry seeps into my down time, my resting time, my prayer time, and my commuting time. In fact, just about the only time I am able to shut out worry and anxiety is when I work.
So, I work … a lot.
In college, I would take more courses, read more books, study more hours and write extra papers. As a “grown-up”, I do more emailing, write more strategies, develop more angles to projects already on the docket … etc. etc. etc.
Things always look better in the morning light, and most of my worrying starts at night. So, since it’s 8:38 on a Saturday night, bear with me.
Currently, I have been worrying a great deal about my vocational life. Making the big move from Youth Ministry (a place I loved and a mission about which I was passionate) to my new role at the Publishing House (where – although yes, I have a passion for the mission, I haven’t been working long enough to know if I love it or not) has been a bit of a sleep-depriver for the last three weeks.
But, today, all that worry was well and truly trounced by a new, monster anxiety – for our little Sydney.
Today, Sydney was officially diagnosed with a condition called positional plagiocephaly. In addition to learning to spell plagiocephaly without requiring a spell check – the past few days have been fraught with mind-numbing moments of concern followed by mind buzzing moments where I generate more questions than any Mommy should be allowed to ask. We have come to learn that plagiocephaly is especially common in babies who are born breech (which, as faithful readers know, was very much our reality with Miss Sydney Grace, starting back at 24 weeks of pregnancy and lasting until her surprise early arrival at the end). After x-rays and consultations at Children’s Hospital, we have learned that Sydney’s condition is not the more serious condition, craniosynostosis, that would require surgery, and we have learned that we have an array of treatment options to consider.
We have learned that we are not bad parents (though I am having a really tough time not blaming myself entirely) and that even though we have done tummy time, and repositioned her sleeping positions, etc. etc., this condition is very common given her early birth and her “I like to hang out breech” reality. Overall, we should be (and really are) really thankful. After all, today as I sat there in the radiology department at Children’s, I saw many, many Mommies and Daddies with many more reasons to be worried than our little family.
The thing I am worrying about is this: am I doing the “right” things for Sydney? I work. Is that a good decision? I’m not home to watch her 24-hours each day. I can’t guarantee that her head isn’t turned left too many hours (we have EXCELLENT women watching our precious baby …). Have I spent enough time playing and holding her? Am I to blame? And what if the treatment option we decide to use doesn’t correct the problem? I don’t want to fail her.
That’s the root of it all. I don’t want to fail Sydney. Not now. Not ever.
And the reality, as we all know it, is that I will. Actually, the reality is that I already have. And at some point, the Gretchen-who-hates-to-let-people-down is going to have to get over the fact that she is less than perfect. It’s not that I don’t “get” this. But it’s time to really, really get it, or else I have this sneaking suspicion that I am going to miss a whole lot of genuine, authentic opportunities to be comfortable with being the Mom I Just Am, as opposed to the Mom I Am Obsessed with Trying to Be.
And, maybe I am wrong about this, I think that Mom I Just Am is going to enjoy life a whole, heck of a lot more.
My friend, Lori is forever telling me to give myself some permission to go easy on myself. And you know what, she’s right. If I have any hope of being the “best” kind of Mom for Sydney, I need to whole-heartedly embrace that I am often going to be the worst and – rather than dwelling in that and rolling around in my own absurd and ridiculous pity party – LET IT GO!
So. Depending on what we decide, you all might see some fun photos of our little Miss Syd wearing her super cool new ‘DOCband’ helmet … and I hope that you’ll all cheer along with us as our little bug gets her noggin back in shape. Hers is external; here’s to hoping that Mom gets her internal noggin back in shape right along with her.
Do they make that helmet in the adult size?