Thursday, October 30, 2008

Worry Wart

I'm as jumpy today as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers. This may have something to do with the coffee I am drinking, but I suspect it's because I'm a little OCD when it comes to my kid.

See, today is a school field trip. The babes are going to a local farm to pet some animals, pick some pumpkins, and see Kentucky agriculture at its finest. She will learn some things today without even knowing that she's learning them, so that's all good.

But what's not good is that her school has no buses of their own, and our school system charges them a lot to provide buses and drivers for fields trips this year. So the kids are getting to this farm through parent volunteers, and for some reason, thinking of my kid riding in someone else's car freaks me out.

I know, I know. I worry too much. She rides in my car every day and is more likely to someday be in an accident with me at the helm than she is is to be in a collision on this one day on this one trip. She might even be safer going this way than going on a bus. Believe me, I am telling myself this. But it's not really helping too much.

I have a really active imagination. I have since I was little, and in some ways it serves me well. It's made me (arguably) a decent writer and storyteller. An active imagination can be a curse, though. I imagine danger at every corner and can see in great detail all the different ways my loved ones can be in peril. I was always bad about this. When I was a latchkey teenager and my mom would be running late in getting home from her job, I would see flashes of smashed Geo Prizms on the local highway. When Jason had to fly to California for work several years ago I had visions of downed planes and terrorists with boxcutters and pilots asleeps at the helm.

Now that I'm a mom all my frightful imaginings are directed at my daughter. Every piece of hard candy she gets in her trick or treat bag gets lodged in her throat. Every electrical item in her room short circuits and starts a fire after we're all asleep. Every car that comes down our street in the summertime is driven by an out-of-control alcoholic who doesn't slow down when a kid is close to the road. Every ice cream man is a pedophile, and every bump in the night is a stalker creeping in through her bedroom window.

And that's just what I see at home.

Today I will worry about blown tires on soccer-mom SUVs, red-light runners, and seat belts that don't buckle. I will worry about large farm animals who buck when a small child gets too close. I will worry about heretofore undiscovered bee sting allergies and little girls who wander and get lost. I will worry about the possible and the ridiculous in equal measures.

I'd like to think this is normal, but I suspect normal people probably don't worry quite as vividly and irrationally as I do because, let's face it, there'd be a lot more scared-looking parents looking for sedatives running around.

Are you a worry wart? Or are you a laid-back soul who can just tell yourself, "Whatever will be, will be" and go on about your day? If so, I kinda hate you right now.

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