I don’t understand people who are calm and serene. Truly, I don’t.
I aspire to be one of them. I do. But then again, I also aspire to be a size 8. Some things are simply beyond my humble abilities.
When I spend time with those paragons of peacefulness, I am totally in awe.
I am also usually in danger of hyperventilating.
I can’t help it. A lot of things just get me revved up. I am blessed with a nimble mind and a vivid imagination. I worry!
This means that when I spend a lovely day on the beach in Maine with several friends and their beautiful children, I keep an eagle eye on every little body, repeatedly counting heads while the mothers relax and smile from the beach, not at all concerned that a rogue wave will suddenly appear and drown everyone. In my head, I know that these kids have literally grown up on this beach, that the water is barely over their heads, that it is low tide and that they can all swim. In my crazy Mamma heart, though, I spend the entire afternoon imagining disaster and reviewing what I know of CPR.
I’m just anxious.
I can judge my levels of anxiety quite easily, too. The cleaner the house, the more amped up I am feeling. Anxious= clean. It’s that simple.
When my kids were little ones, Paul could come in the front door at dinner time, glance around at the immaculate living room and ask, “What’s wrong?” If there were socks on the floor, dishes in the sink and smudges on every reflective surface, he’d give a big sigh of relief and come on in for dinner.
What makes my particular brand of craziness more difficult, though, is the fact that sometimes I am bad anxious (someone lost a job, someone is very sick, someone has been hurt or put in danger) and sometimes I am good anxious (heading off to a reunion with my oldest friends, going into a new school year, leaving on a great vacation).
It makes no difference. I get that big old flood of adrenaline, my heart starts skipping around like an eager race horse, and before I know it, I’m cleaning everything in sight.
Let me give you an example.
My beautiful, smart, capable, mature daughter just experienced every woman’s dream proposal from the man who makes her breath catch. They were on the coast of Ireland, and he proposed with an emerald ring in a Celtic design, followed by champagne and text messages to all who love them.
I know! Can you stand it? Like a perfect dream! Like every wish I ever wished for her, from the first moment that I knew she was alive. “Let her find love, let her be happy, let her have someone who gives her all of her dreams.” I am beyond happy at her news, and Paul and I shed some tears over the whole thing last night, knowing that she is on the way to a wonderful future.
This morning I found myself swamped with “good anxious” thoughts. What is the proper My-Daughter-Got-Engaged etiquette? What do I do now? Followed rapidly by: “But she’s only a baby!” and “What will I wear?” and “Can I lose 20 lbs and do I care if I can’t?” and “I want to get together with his Mom, ASAP! We need to hug and cry and drink a barrel of wine together!”
I am happy, I am elated, I am facing a new and incredibly exciting adventure. This is the most awesome news to hit our house in a long time!!! And to top if all off, my niece, one of Kate’s closest buddies on earth, got engaged this week, too, so I get to experience this whole phenomenon with my baby sister!! How incredibly cool is that?!
It’s all absolutely, totally positive and fabulous.
So I have to wonder why, on the only off day that I have had in weeks, I found myself cleaning out the medicine cabinet and dusting the baseboards at 10 AM, after walking the dogs, mopping the kitchen floor, writing a special-ed report that is due in October, refinishing a coffee table and trimming the hedges.
I think I might be just a tiny bit “good anxious”, don’t you?
Can you imagine what a mess I’d be if I had gotten some bad news?