Don’t You Worry Mommy
“Don’t you worry mommy.” Those four words have been said by my 5-year-old son numerous times and almost as if he knows something that I don’t. Those four words are filled with such wisdom and faith, yet it is easier said than done. As a parent, we generally worry about our children and for our children. From the moment my son was born, I remember having all the typical first-time mom worries, and those worries have stuck with me throughout the years. The “what if’s” continually pop up and create new fears and anxiety within me. It’s daunting and life-consuming. I know as a mom of two, this constant state of worry is mixed with a lifetime of second-guessing and a side of mommy guilt.
I worry about their well-being today and what may happen in the days, months, and years to come. I worry about the decisions I make as a parent that may affect their entire lives. I worry if I am making the right choices, doing the right things, and if I’m being the right mom at the right times. Yet, within all the worry, there’s an extraordinary amount of joy and excitement for all that is possible for my children. There’s also great pride for all that they’ve already become.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matthew 6:34
My Worst Fears Came to Life
Unfortunately, there is no playbook when it comes to being a parent, and when my son was diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease, this non-existent playbook became harder to understand. My worries began to shift, multiply, and explode. A lot of what I once worried about became insignificant. The things I once complained about simply disappeared. None of it mattered to me anymore. I realized there’s a lot in life that’s taken for granted.
When our son was diagnosed with Duchenne at a very young age, we were told, step by step, what his future holds. The averages, the progression, and the life span were all explained to us through words and a printout. My worst fears came to life. A worry that was not even on my radar became larger than life. I found myself in a state that I am sure most can’t even wrap their heads around, because I am not even sure I can. Yet, I am here taking it moment by moment, doing all I can to stay joyful and hopeful.
However, I will admit that periodically, I find myself on the floor curled up in a ball with a heart that won’t stop aching and tears that I can’t stop from coming. That ache truly never goes away. There are reminders every minute of every day that Duchenne is present. The emotions of grief, sadness, and anger come in like tidal waves, sometimes quickly and unexpected. I have learned not to try and stop them from coming, but rather to welcome the feelings in, to sit with them for a little while. I have learned it’s best to acknowledge and feel each emotion as they come to the surface so that I can start to understand and deal with them better. Giving myself permission and knowing that it is okay to feel all I’m feeling has been an important part of the process. Then I try to wipe away my tears and warrior on as I find myself making another important choice to get up and fight again today.
He Makes Me Brave
Because my son is right, worrying doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t protect or fix all that is broken. To me, fighting means getting up each day and trying my best to smile, to be grateful, and to enjoy each moment just as he does. It means not giving up because I am fighting for my son and my family, for our community of warriors, and for all those who feel they don’t have any fight left in them.
None of us know how much time we have on this earth. I make a conscious decision each day to enjoy the time we have rather than worry about the future because so much can change. Science can catch up, miracles can happen, and so much of what we focus on becomes our way of life. Don’t get me wrong, I constantly have worries that show up each and every day, but I am trying to find a way to be okay when I am not okay. I am searching to find a light within the darkness. It’s part of the fight.
But the fight isn’t mine alone. Sharing my feelings with a loved one or friend who understands what I am going through helps me tackle the worries and fear. I pray about it because I am unable to carry the weight of this alone. I read or listen to something uplifting that fills my mind with hope and encouragement. I try to relax and focus on the positives of today because we can’t change the past, nor can we control the future. I know I can choose to see things with my cup half full or half empty.
Everything I Do Is Out of Love
Worrying will steal my joy for today. It will waste the time I do have by occupying much of my mind and changing my mood, and when we don’t know how much time we have – time becomes imperative. Worrying will create fear I never had before, and even if I don’t say anything about them out loud, my children can sense something is troubling me. Instead, I want my children to know and feel that everything I do is out of love, not worry or fear. I want them to live their best lives today and not worry about what tomorrow will bring. I choose to take it one day at a time and occasionally just one minute at a time because that’s all my heart and mind can handle.
I try not to get ahead of myself and worry about the “what if’s” just yet because in the journey of life, we will continue to find ourselves traveling through mountains and valleys. We will feel the waves crashing in and the storms raging on, but we can also learn to dance in the rain, admire the rainbows and feel the sunshine. I don’t want to miss the moments of today, and I don’t want to look back and regret not making the most of the time we had. Today I want to choose happiness. Today I want to live in the moment with my loved ones by making ordinary moments extraordinary. I want to create joyful, loving memories with them TODAY that will last forever. And when tomorrow comes, I’ll remind myself to be brave and that…