I am a wife.
I am a mother.
And sometimes, just sometimes, I am a scared little girl.
I am now 11 days out from having surgery to remove a lump in my breast. This is not the first surgery of its kind, and I doubt it will be the last, but familiarity with the process is not breeding confidence.
Thankfully our family has ZERO history of cancer. However, we are very prone to benign tumors and cysts. When these tumors get too big, take up residence in a weird spot, or start to look suspicious they have to be surgically removed. That's what's happening in 11 days. But for some reason, the idea of this surgery is bothering me more than any of the others have.
No. I guess "for some reason" is inaccurate.
I know my reason.
My reason is 32 lbs and 13 months old. He loves dancing and laughing and making "stink" faces at me when I try to feed him peas. My reason chases me around the house with plastic zebras that "rawr!" He makes me read the same book 12 times in a row and habitually strips off his diaper and pees on my carpet. My reason is demanding, mischievous, dramatic, and a tad bit manipulative. He embodies my best and worst attributes all at once and is an adorably chubby carbon copy of his daddy. My reason snuggles up to me every morning and falls asleep in my arms every night.
My son is my reason to be afraid.
When I think of him, and I think of this surgery, all logic goes out the window. I become a being who is ruled by emotion. My anxiety balloons out of proportion and I find myself trudging through the darkest abysses in my brain. The places where cancer exists. Where the "what-ifs" run rampant and thoughts of chemotherapy, terminal illness, and a little boy growing up without a mother terrorize me.
And the thought occurs to me, that this anxiety will not simply be assuaged by a positive outcome with my surgery. This anxiety is here to stay. Because it's not really ME that I'm worried about, it's that tiny blond-headed boy. I have a lifetime ahead of me of perpetual worry.
Now that he's walking: what if he falls? When he goes to school: what if the other kids are mean to him? In someone else's care: What if they can't take care of him like I can? Do they know to cut the crusts off his sandwich?
Don't even get me started on driving or leaving for college!
As a therapist, I know that there is no magic pill for a mother's worry. No psychological theory or technique to apply...the scope is simply just too large.
I guess that this is just what happens when you're heart resides outside of your body.