I don't think of myself as a worrier. I loved my grandmother, who passed away several years ago, but she was not only a worrier, she was a fretter. (My computer doesn't think "fretter" is a word, so let me clarify: a person who frets is a "fretter".) I won't share a bunch of examples because it will give the impression that I didn't cherish or appreciate my grandma. I did. But the truth is, when a little girl says, "Grandma, watch this!", she is hoping to impress and evoke cheers of praise from said grandmother, not send her into a tizzy. Growing up around this lady who loved me so much, taught me that I for sure didn't want to be a worrier when I grew up.
So here I am all grown up and I'm not a worrier!
I prefer the term "concerned". Like, I don't worry about a freight barge slamming in to the bridge over the Arkansas River and crumbling it when I'm halfway across, it just concerns me a little. Cause, you know, things like that have happened before. But I don't let it keep me from my destination, I just take slow, deep breaths, and roll down the windows so we will be able to swim out and plan how I will help all my kids get their seat belts unbuckled and remind myself how I must get the youngest in swimming lessons, and by the time I've thought all this through, lo and behold, I'm across the bridge! And I didn't even worry about it!
On the occasions that we swim in the lake or go boating with friends, I don't worry about all the submerged trees that might scrape legs or snag on swimsuits. In fact, I encourage my kids to jump in cowabunga, come on kids, the water's great! But since I'm concerned about being a good mother, I spend quite a lot of time counting to 5. 1, 2, 3...3...crap! where's number 3?...Oh, there he is...4, 5.
And when we lived in Los Angeles for that year, and had reason to fly out of LAX, I didn't worry about flying out over the Pacific Ocean. I mean, it didn't really make any kind of sense to me that the plane would have to fly out over the water to the west and then make a hugely wide turn, flying parallel to the shore practically to San Diego before turning back east toward land. I mean, who am I to question air traffic control for sending us WEST when our destination was Dallas, TO THE EAST? I just took those slow, deep breaths and kept looking out the window, amazed that I could see through to the bottom of that cold water. I just wanted to be oriented about the direction of the shore "in the event of a water landing", so I could make sure to swim the right direction. And, no, that shape in the water is not a shark, it just part of the topography of the land beneath the water. Healthy concern. Being prepared. Proactive!
So, I'm not a worrier. But Jeff and I are going to be traveling to Africa in October. It was the soreness in my arm from the Typhoid vaccination that woke me up at 3:59 this morning, not worry. That would be silly and counterproductive and not at all spiritual. But, you know, since I'm up, I thought I'd go ahead and start working on my To Do list of things I need to accomplish before we go.
1. Passport - got that ball rolling
a. Tetanus, check
b. Hep A, first round check, second round scheduled for September
c. Hep B, first round check, second round scheduled for September, third round when we get back
d. Typhoid, check and ouch
e. Yellow Fever, not necessary for where we're going
f. Flu, scheduled for September if the office has the vaccine by then, otherwise, we'll just risk it
g. Malaria, pill to start a couple days before we leave
3. Child care, check! My folks are coming in from Oklahoma to stay with the kiddos.
4. Clean house
c. scrub toilets
d. dust, even the top of the television (hey, my mother is coming!)
e. scrub mold off the siding on the outside of the house
f. get oil spots off the driveway
5. Get a will
6. Organize our financial portfolio so all $5000 of our savings can easily and fairly be distributed among our 5 kids.
7. Writing "good bye" letters to each of the kids, so they will know they are loved and can have something from me to carry down the aisle with them on their wedding days.
You know, IN CASE WE DIE WHILE WE'RE FLYING OVER THE FREAKING ATLANTIC OCEAN! But I'm sure it will all be fine, UNLESS WE CRASH IN THE GREAT WHITE SHARK INFESTED WATERS OFF OF CAPE COD LIKE I SAW ON THE SHARK WEEK SHOW JEFF INSISTED ON WATCHING LAST NIGHT! I'm fine though, because I'm not a worrier. I'm just concerned and want to be proactive and prepared IN CASE NELSON MANDELLA DIES AND RIOTS BREAK OUT! But we're not staying in South Africa, we're just LANDING IN JOHANNESBURG AND THEN DRIVING 5 HOURS INTO SWAZILAND, where we'll be safe and enjoy the exotic beauty of Africa, encouraging some awesome missionaries, and learning about a different culture for a few days. And all those American embassy's that are currently CLOSED BECAUSE OF HIGHLY CREDIBLE TERRORIST THREATS? That was in North Africa and will all be over (surely) before we make our trip.
So, I need to mark a few things off my To Do list, but I have plenty of time still, so I'm not worried.
It's probably a good thing Grandma is currently enjoying the peace that passes all understanding right now. Bless her.