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The Worrier

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

I’m a worrier. I worry about the fact that some of the stucco-covered planters in the backyard aren’t in the most pristine condition (unless they are supposed to be spotted like a giraffe). I worry about whether or not my vacuum cleaner has enough suction to get the really deep down dirt out of the carpet. And, I worry about the fact that the shelves in my cabinets aren’t lined with shelf paper. I mean, are they really supposed to be lined with shelf paper? Does it bring down the value of your home or put your family in mortal danger if they’re not lined in shelf paper? These are the things that wake me up at 2 am making me waaaaay too tired during the day to actually pull things out of the cabinets and line the shelves with shelf paper.

I don’t think I’ve always been this way. I can still remember a time when I didn’t sweat the small stuff. But, that was BC. Before Children. And, you parents out there know what I’m talking about. It starts when you’re pregnant. Should I drink the Diet Pepsi? Should I eat the Cheetos? I felt like I was playing Russian roulette every time I ate or drank anything.

Things only got worse after the baby came. She’s not sleeping well at night, so she must have some terrible disease that is causing her great pain. Or, she’s slept all through the night – something must be wrong!!!

You’d think after the first child the worrying would die down a bit. Sure, there are things that freak out a new mom that seasoned moms hardly bat an eyelash at after number four comes along. One example is the time I went racing down the highway, calling my husband on the cell phone, and saying in a weepy voice, “I just want you to know that I’m taking her in to see Dr. Suen. Her temperature is up to 99 degrees!” when daughter number one was about six or eight months old. Oh, how things changed when our son (child number four) came along. ”Oh, he’s barely even sick,” I remember saying the time he had a cold around the age of 1 or so. “Sure, he’s got a pretty crusty-looking nose, but he seems to be breathing just fine and only has a temperature of 99.”

But, although I had calmed down when it came to colds and fevers, there were other worries taking over my thought patterns. I began worrying about shampoo. Am I using too much? Am I using too little? Do I scrub my scalp or just gently massage the lather? I also worry about dolphins. Those poor dolphins. If the discarded plastic Diet Pepsi six pack holders don’t kill them, the deflated balloons that end up in the ocean will. And, if I buy a can of tuna, am I killing a dolphin?

It’s a hard life that I lead, worrying about shampoo and dolphins. But, those are big things, right? I’m getting better about not sweating the small stuff. Just the other day, I got out of the shower right in front of my dog. And, ya’ know what? I didn’t even care what he thought of me.

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Tags: Featured Story, Parenting

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