I was asked this a few posts ago and wanted to respond but needed a little more room than is available in the reply box at the bottom of the post:
“firstname.lastname@example.org at 9:22 pm
on the topic of random – i know you do pride yourself as a great optimist, which i so admire – i’m a first time new mom too… how do you ever (if ever) stop worrying incessantly about summer? Seriously, i look up/research at least one horrible rare disease every day and i’m a crazy person. We’re talkin, OMG baby coughed twice and has a dry skin patch – could this be urbabysfineandurinsaneosis?”
I didn’t forget about you, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this question since you asked! So….
First let me start with the optimist part.
I am the first one to admit that I see the world through rose-colored glasses. My wine glass is always half-full. I probably give people more free passes than they deserve from one person. Good things happen to good people. Karma is for reals. Silver linings and rainbows and unicorns covered in glitter on a stick and all that good stuff.
Though I’m not gonna lie, my sunny outlook has actually caused points of contention in my house. Whereas I am more of a blind-leap-of-faith-er, more curious of the unknown, more willing to take risks and try new things and figure it out as I go even if I have no idea how (cough, drilling holes in my wood floors to fix the squeakies, cough), Scott is more of a protector, a comfort creature, an address-all-possible-outcomes-first type of person, and he guards that which he values with admirable gusto. He always looks both ways before crossing the street, I just cross my fingers and take off running. We approach life completely differently and while we bicker sometimes which can be expected with such different ways of thinking, I hope because of it Summer is going to end up a well-rounded little girl who will make mistakes but will learn from them. She’ll sit at the open door of the plane and, thinking of her daddy, she’ll hesitate for a moment wondering if jumping is the right thing to do, then she’ll think of me and jump anyway. 🙂
I believe most people are inherently good. Yes, there are sickos out there that will not hesitate to hurt others, but I believe they are the exception. I think rain showers make for some awesome puddle jumping, I think snow is nothing short of beautiful, and I think the sun on my bare shoulders is pure bliss. I don’t think the world is a big scary place, it’s a gigantic wonderland that is there to be explored and discovered and approached with the curiosity of a child, a place where there is something new to experience around every corner.
I also believe that there is so much in life that is out of my control and maybe because of that, I have fewer expectations of how things should go. Fewer expectations means less disappointment which means a more rosy overall outlook on how life is. For example, I don’t expect people to drive well, I actually assume that every person behind the wheel is either texting or making a phone call or more interested in getting the big booger out of their nose than staying inside the lines on the road. Seriously, why do so many people pick their noses in the car? I digress… I know that there are a lot of shitty drivers out there. So when someone is swerving next to me because they have their phone up to their face while going 65 mph, yes it’s annoying and extremely dangerous but I’m never surprised because I wouldn’t expect anything else. So I quietly curse them under my breath, I move over, and I move on. It’s a simplistic way of looking at things, but if I don’t expect a perfect experience, I’ll be more grateful if I happen to have one.
On to how I don’t freak out….
I’m not gonna lie and say I never freak out or worry about Summer, I think any momma that doesn’t worry has to be one of those unicorns on a glitter stick that I mentioned above. So yes, I absolutely worry. Though overall, my disposition absolutely affects how I approach life as somebody’s momma. Even before she was born, when we had the heart scare on Summer’s sonogram last January, I freaked out like any momma would do. In the first hour after the call from my doc, I made myself sick thinking about this helpless vulnerable little baby girl who could possibly have issues for the rest of her precious beautiful life. All I kept thinking over and over was, “there’s something wrong with my baby’s heart…” and I could probably get teary thinking about it all over again if I tried. But after the initial shock, I calmed down, did some research, and I ultimately accepted the fact that I had no control over her heart and chromosomes and genetic outcome. Worrying about what maybe, just might, could possibly be wasn’t going to do me or her any good. And ultimately whatever the outcome would be come June, I knew I already loved her more than anything in this world and I would make sure that her life would be as full and rich and meaningful as it could possibly ever be. And if the spot on her heart ultimately ended up being our early sign of Down Syndrome, we’d do whatever we’d need to do to keep her happy and healthy as could be.
When she had her first sniffle, I thought she was dying. Turns out it was a cold. When I found little pea-sized lumps on her head, I thought it was tumors. It was harmless swollen lymph nodes. When she was throwing up every 45 minutes, I thought she had a bowel obstruction. It was normal baby pukies. When I found a spot of blood when I changed her, I thought she had internal bleeding. It was a tear from pooping. When she had a rash on her chest, I thought it was meningitis. It was the soap. Each time I’ve tried to stay away from the internet or at the very least taken the advice I’ve read with a grain of salt, because while sites like the BabyCenter forums are full of a lot of good advice, there’s a super-sized buttload of crappy crap advice, too. And so in these moments – any health questions where I’m nervous that something is wrong – are reserved for our pediatrician who I trust completely and I don’t hesitate to call him. But you know, each time I had a fear, I didn’t panic because a panicky momma doesn’t make a sick baby better. Now, kisses and snuggles dipped in rainbow glitter? Well, those are simply magical.
While I’d love it, I don’t expect my baby to be perfectly healthy – she’s a person and people get sick. And babies cry. And mommas worry. And things go wrong. And bones get broken. And cuts bleed. And accidents happen. And the odds of a baby falling off a couch are so high that I’m seriously just waiting for it to happen to mine. And while I won’t ever know everything about this baby and everything that could possibly go wrong, I have learned to hope that everyday is gonna be a good one and to trust my instincts. If my gut says something is wrong, I have the doctor on speed dial, I worry, I don’t over research, I face it head on, then with confidence I smother my fears and my baby with hope and love and snuggles and my strong momma abilities to make everything better. And I cover it all in a glitter sandwich.
And that’s the best I can do.