Gene pools are a funny thing. You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. My childhood nickname was “worry wart”. I didn’t like it but have grown to embrace and at times, even mock this delicate side of my personality.
For you older moms you might remember the movie “Brian’s Song”, a 1971 movie about a professional football player named Brian Piccolo who was diagnosed with terminal cancer after turning pro. Not that I needed much to invoke my brooding anxiety as a child, but this movie did the job. For years I was convinced that every bruise, pain or bump was a sure sign of impending leukemia.
For those who know me, I still have a tendency to think a back ache is lung cancer spread to my bones, a headache a brain tumor, or an ingrown toenail will upend my ability to run resulting in inevitable fatness.
But back to gene pools – my youngest daughter has a lot of fears and anxieties that are getting in her way. Some might say “the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” and I would agree, but being on the mother side of this issue is frightening. To me it’s a way of life to which I’ve grown accustomed and adapted in ways that have made me stronger, healthier, wiser and funnier. Watching her struggle leaves me feeling powerless.
So the last week has been filled with lining up the right interventions, doctors, and more. To do that however, because I have an enormously demanding job, I had to change my flight to the Democratic National Convention (DNC), schedule appointments around my insane schedule, help her sister prepare for her first real job, ensure that the 6 other delegates attending the DNC with me had the right itineraries, and make sure I brought work with me to the DNC to prepare for our Leadership Conference that starts the day after I get home – which, as it turned out, never got done.
While at the DNC and my total 7 hours of sleep over a 3 day spin, I was in contact with my daughter, her Dad, her doctors, her school and more. But I did it, because other than holding her hand, hugging her, being with her through it all and putting my own anxieties in check, it’s all I can do.
And that’s what working moms do. They do it all and more.
And in my calmer moments of reflection these past weeks I think that my gene pool in which she shares isn’t all bad. My fears and anxieties are a source of great strength and awareness for me and I might add a source of enormous humor to both myself and my closest friends. My fears and anxieties also allowed me to recognize something in her that she was afraid to show – and now at 12 years old she is getting the help she needs.