Coronavirus, self-care

Normalcy as a Thing: Controlling My Anxiety

Abby, this morning

Normalcy as a thing is what I savor right now. Like, cutting the grass. Jared and I took turns cutting the worst of the front yard last night. I worked on another part of it a little while ago. Out there in the sun, it is easy to forget there is a pandemic going on. It’s hot and beautiful.

I appreciate my morning devotional site, http://incourage.me/blog. It’s wonderful to have the new posts to look forward to with my coffee every morning.

While we are on the topic of coffee…..that’s wonderful and good to savor right now, just as it is every day.

Lunchtime today was the first rationing of the shredded cheese. Porter chose to make a half quesadilla instead of a full one. We may make our tortillas last longer than normal if he continues like that.

When I cool off from being outside in the sun mowing, I am going to work on laundry and swiffer the floors. I don’t know how normal those things are for me. I don’t do them with any regularity. But they are normal-type chores. It’s good that I still feel the drive to do them.

Curiosity: Normalcy as a Thing

There is a cute little house on Rome Street for sale. It would stretch us past our breaking point to buy it, though. I can always count on Dena, one of my best friends, to tell me the truth about comparing my house to a different house. She had a take on the Rome Street house without even seeing the listing. Her take was that, because of its age, bedrooms would be in odd places and the boys wouldn’t want to sleep in them. Of course, she is right. And, of course, I need to spend less time being curious about real estate and more time working on my own house.

I would sorely miss my yard if we moved elsewhere. Being out in it these two days with the mower, I have really appreciated our beautiful yard. I never envied people with big yards before having one myself. Seemed like too much trouble. But, having a big yard with the house in the smack dab middle of the lot means nobody is right up on top of you. That is a darn good thing sometimes.

This is my house. Being curious about what else is out there, though– that is normal to me.

The Kids

Above all else, I want my kids to remember this as a happy time. I don’t want them stressed about anything needlessly. I don’t mind pushing them to do a little school work or to video chat with their friends. Jared and I paid Porter to go out and pick up the larger sticks in the yard that have accumulated all winter. The sticks in the back yard were going to make it difficult to mow back there.

But, in general…..promoting normalcy as a thing means giving in and letting them play their video games. As far as I am concerned, they can do what they want with their time. If Liam and Oliver want to have a Nerf gun war without the foam pellets in the house, I am going to let them do it. They all have TV’s in their rooms. If they want the TV on from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed, that is A-OK by me. If Liam wants to spend his days watching YouTube videos about Minecraft, well, that’s less time that he’s watching the news or worrying about his Dad and me. Liam is prone to worry too much as it is.

Normalcy as a Thing: Oliver

Oliver is at the age where it is developmentally appropriate for him to be aware that the people around him will die someday. He realized this about me sometime in the past few months. Jared was able to piece together that is why he has been so clingy with me for a while now.

We’ve been talking about the fact that I hope it’s a long, long time till I die. I told him I will do everything I can to make sure it’s long after he’s grown up and can look after himself. He and Jared did talk about what it was like for Jared when Laree died. Jared was honest with him.

Anxiety: Normal

I really don’t know how to answer the question that I am functionally okay through all this. I’ve had several people reach out to me and it’s been obvious from the way they approach the conversation that they expect that I will tell them I am not okay or that my anxiety or moods are out of control.

It’s not that I’m not afraid of COVID-19 or that I don’t worry about the economy or the state of our society. I am worried about all that. I am worried about my loved ones potentially getting sick. But, I refuse to let the worry over those things take over my life. In this household, we are fortunate that we have all that we need for now and I am practicing gratitude to remember that fact.

It is practicing normalcy as a thing to make sure that I sleep well. I am making sure everybody stays fed and (relatively) clean. Beyond that, this has been a big test of realizing I do not, in fact, control the outcome of the world. I can control myself and that’s about it. So, the baseline of my anxiety is not dramatically any higher than it normally is. There’s no magic secret to controlling that baseline beyond remembering that I am more than my illness. I do have control over a lot that’s going on in my life and in my household. That’s plenty to worry about as it is.

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