by Christy Gualtieri
It was going to be another one of those days, I could tell. My son started to refuse his naps that entire week, leaving me without a break in the middle of the day and feeling absolutely frazzled with all I had to get done by his bedtime. I’d thought of everything I could do to keep us both occupied, and decided that a trip out to the store might be a good idea.
We got in the car and drove for a bit, and I groaned when I saw the long line of cars heading back in the opposite direction. Of course I’d think to take him out during rush hour. Of course I’d decided that a meltdown in the car because we’d be stuck in traffic would be the cherry on top of a very long day.
All of my optimism seeped out of me.
“It looks like there’s going to be a lot of traffic on the way home, Buddy,” I called toward the backseat.
And my son, in all his two-year-old wisdom, just said, “We’ll see!”
He’s been saying that a lot lately, and it cracks me up. “You’re going to have a baby cousin this summer! Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?” “We’ll see!” “I think it’s going to snow tomorrow, Bud!” “We’ll see!”
But silly as it sounded, it was the thing I needed most to hear in that moment in the car. Yes, it seemed as though there’d be traffic, but I wasn’t in any at the moment – in fact, we were cruising along just fine. I was so worried about what was going to happen that I felt myself rolling along in what I like to call a “Fear Avalanche,” which is what happens in my mind when I start out with one negative thought, and then more quickly follow it. I feel worse and worse as it gathers speed in my mind and ends up presenting me with a long list of doomsday scenarios. The worry about being stuck in traffic led to a worry that he’d have a meltdown, which led to a worry that I’d be too frazzled to do anything but scream at him, which led to a worry that he’d forever have low self-esteem, which led to a worry that he’d end up feeling abandoned and the only way he could soothe himself would be to rob banks as an adult, which would lead to him being arrested and losing his home and ending up on the street, which would mean…
You get the picture.
So I decided to take his lead. “You’re right, Buddy! We’ll see.” I decided to forget about the traffic and just focus on the few minutes I was in right then.
And, sure enough, it worked out. We had a fine time out, exhausting as it still was, and we didn’t even get stuck in much traffic on the way home, which was a nice treat.
Living in the moment is really hard to do, but as weird as it may feel at first, with practice, it gets easier. If you’re a champion worrier like myself, give it a try! You might find that it’s more freeing to move out of the way of all those falling thoughts!
Until next time, be well!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at openthoseojos.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117.
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