Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thoughts on Motherhood :: Worrying

As my oldest son sprawled out on the exam table my heart started to race. Our pediatrician poked her way around his ribs and my mind lifted up a prayer. "Well, I don't think that it's anything that we need to be worried about." she said as I let out a huge sigh of relief. I had spent the weekend worrying and forcing Griffin to keep still while I inspected his ribcage over and over.

Let's go back a few days, I'm getting ahead of myself. It was Friday evening and Griffin was stripped down naked and singing while he sat on the toilet with the bathroom door wide open. This is a normal occurrence in our home and I looked down the hallway with a smile. I just love seeing his weird little moments. I happened to notice, in the midst of my admiration, that a shadow fell on his tummy in the bathroom light just beneath the left side of his ribs. It looked like something was protruding out of his ribcage ever so slightly. Of course, I grabbed him and started to feel the protrusion. It felt like his rib was curved maybe or did it feel like a mass? My mind began to race. Could it be a growth of some sort? My heart sank as I called Roger in to poke at him too. We must have looked like cavemen as we poked and rubbed Griffin's ribs with concerned looks on our faces. Did it feel like a lump or was it his bone? We both knew for sure that we felt something strange. The worrying began.

I did the worst thing a mother could do in this situation and turned to the Internet. Horror stories unfolded before me and I thought of the numerous blogs I have read that started with "I noticed a bump on my child" and ended with "we are now fighting for their life." I did not want to write up one of those blog posts. My imagination took over.

I spent a good part of Saturday thinking scary thoughts. I thought of the late nights when he's woken up scared and pondering death. I always tell him "You are safe, you are healthy, and you are going to live a very long life." I cringed at the idea of those comforting words not being true.
What a betrayal that would be, for me to tell him over and over in hopes of comforting him that he was healthy and then to suddenly have to tell him that I was wrong, my heart hurt just thinking about it.

This worry was actually a blessing though because it helped me to treasure my son. I began to see how often I rushed through our day. I noticed when Griffin was in the back seat rambling on and on about his little obsessions, how often I tuned out and replied with "Wow sweetie, that's amazing!" without really listening to him. My fear helped me to tune into his little world. A new awareness emerged as to how much I love Griffin's fantastic life being entangled with mine. I began to cherish his crazy ways. Suddenly, patience washed over me as he dawdled at the grocery store. Watching him pretend to be a stuntman on the deep freezers at Walmart seemed hilarious to me instead of annoying. I became aware of how I spoke to him and tried my hardest to speak patiently instead of my tendency to bicker with him. The worry sat in the back of my mind as I fell more and more in love with our life together.

Sunday night, as I plopped down on the couch to watch TV, the children were sleeping soundly in their beds and I had a moment to spend some time with my thoughts. I happened to glance over at a Christmas list that Griffin had made earlier that day and had left on the couch. As I read the list to myself I said a prayer. I prayed that we would have a wonderful Christmas and that we would all be at home, safe and sound. Prayers filled my heart as I began to see all the blessings that dwell within my family. Please let our visit to the pediatrician be the end of this journey and not the beginning of a journey that led to X-rays, biopsies, or treatment, I prayed. My heart skipped beats as I tried to convince myself that I was being ridiculous.

So, to my relief, it was a good report after all from the Doctor. His ribs are asymmetrical. It was his rib protruding and not a cancerous cyst. I probably just now noticed it because he recently had a growth spurt and is stretching out a bit. Suddenly, life felt normal again, in an instant. I feel for the mothers who don't get the good report and I have so much gratitude that we can move forward. That I was simply being overly indulgent in my worry and that it was not to be our reality.

It's easy to take birthdays and even simple hugs for granted. I will admit that I have a flare for the dramatic and a heart that is quick to worry. I'm almost ashamed to admit my fears when it comes to my children. I longed for these children my entire life before I had them. My days are spent loving them and caring for them. Now, after my weekend of worry, I've gotten a new perspective on Motherhood. I must love the connection we have as a family. Through all of the chaos, stress, and insanity that comes with having a five year old boy, there is a beautiful life here in my home.

I cherish it more now.


singedwingangel said...

I think we have all had that moment when something catches our eye and we stop breathing. My youngest has this innate ability to develop bruises that I have no clue where they came from. Each time I panic and ask how did you do this, to be greeted by the innocence of a child shrugging his shoulders saying' I don't know'.. So glad it is nothing for him or you... as well

Anonymous said...

I'm glad he's ok. I had several moments like that with my youngest. It's natural for our minds to wander to the worst possible situation. And Dr. Google is not our friend.

Much More Than Mommy said...

I am so glad it wasn't anything serious, but also so thankful for the reminder you just offered to cherish every. single. moment.

Katherine said...

I'm glad that he's fine. There is nothing worse than thinking there may be something wrong with our child, the child that we have put all our love and dreams of the future into.

R Montalban said...

I am so glad that it turned out to be nothing, and I do understand your worry, that is what a good Mummy does, part of the job description!

Jenn said...

I'm glad he's okay! I'm with you on the worrying ... I probably need to back it down a bit, because it too often consumes me.
(Nice to 'meet' you ... I'm a new follower!)

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

I am glad that he is ok. I would have worried too.

Just Jen said...

Oh, Leigh. You may have started at the end of the story, but I'm super glad you did. If you would have started at the beginning, I bet I would have had tears running down my face before I got to the good news!

So glad that he's ok! It really does make you thankful for every moment, though, doesn't it?

Sue said...

I always worried about my kids, too, probably more than was good for them...and certainly more than was good for me.

I'm glad your boy's okay. And I can imagine that you will have a little extra appreciation in fulfilling his Christmas wishes this year.


jfickes said...

I am so glad he's fine, it is crazy how these kiddos can tear us to our core in seconds. I can tell you though, if it ever turns out to be something - spending time at Children's really puts it in perspective. There is always so much to be thankful for and so many that have such big worries. We are lucky.


so glad he is ok. is it weird what struck me MOST is that henry has already written a christmas list too? sigh. these crazy boys

carma said...

scary stuff. Happy it all turned out OK.

The Blogging Goddess said...

I think this is normal. My daughter's stomach flu lasted for 4 days. I thought it was something worse. I called the doctor 5 times.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I am so glad he is okay. I have the same heart as you when it comes to worrying about my kids. I don't know how mothers who have sick children do it and I have a great deal of admiration for their courage.
I loved this post, Leigh. It reminds me to cherish all those wonderfully weird moments with my little ones too.

xo to you and yours.