She worried about what the trucks were doing at the grocery store across the street from her house. She called the corporate headquarters so many times, I think she had them on speed dial (except for the fact that she refused to get a dial tone phone and instead, used her old rotary). I’m pretty sure they knew her by name at Bi-Lo supermarket, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because she was spreading goodness and joy.
My grandmother worried about everything. Most of all, she worried about my cousin. We’ll call him Johnny. He was the oldest, and it was very apparent he was my grandmother’s favorite. Grandmother loved him best of all. There was no denying it. Even she did not deny that.
When my grandmother would hear a siren, she would immediately say, “I hope that isn’t Johnny.” It didn’t matter where we were or where Johnny was. As soon as a siren was heard, her brain immediately went to him. He lived out west for a while and we were in South Carolina, and Grandmother would still say, “I hope that isn’t Johnny.”
“No, Grandmother. I’m pretty sure we would not hear a firetruck 1500 miles away.”
It was never logical to us, so we laughed about it. My silly grandmother and her silly ways. We did not understand why she was such a worrier.
Fast forward a few decades, and I am beginning to understand. I have a child who is driving. All at once, he has grown wings and is flying around town. (Hopefully, he isn’t really flying….I really hope he did not inherit his father’s lead foot.) I find myself worrying when I hear sirens. “I hope that isn’t Beetle,” I sometimes say out loud. Then, I look around to see if my grandmother is in the room. She’s not. It’s me. The Worrier.
I don’t think I was a worrier before now. Honestly, my normal response to stress has been just to fall asleep. You may think I’m kidding, but I’m not. If Mr. Everything is scaring me with his driving, I just go to sleep. He asks constantly why I sleep so much in the car. Why, I can be asleep before we make it out of our town!
When bills were weighing heavy on us and the phone kept ringing with bill collectors, I slept. When our business burned down, I stifled yawns while waiting for updates on the fire. When I drove home from the trauma center after leaving Mr. E and his burned face, I had a hard time staying awake on the drive. Sleep. It’s the perfect cure for stress.
In the case of the Beetle, however, sleep isn’t working. Instead, I find myself obsessing over the things he could possibly be doing wrong. The poor child faces the sniff test every time he walks in the door. The nose will know if he’s been up to something. Every time he is near me, I have to resist the urge to ask lots of questions. Sometimes, the questions leak out anyway.
For the 2.4 minutes I was awake in bed last night before falling into my normal comatose state, I pondered why it is I am worrying so much. The Beetle is a good kid. Sure, he has done stupid things. They all do. Overall, though, his goodness to stupid ratio is pretty high. I trust him. I do. Sort of. Well, until my imagination gets the best of me. Then, I freak out and wonder if the sirens I hear are headed to save the Beetle from his vehicle that is dangling over the edge of a cliff. Then, I remember we don’t have cliffs in Florida.
I don’t know why it is I worry so much. If the poor child survives me, he should get a t-shirt. “I survived life with my crazy mother.” I don't know why my mind automatically goes to the worst case scenario. Maybe it's genetic.
I wonder if there is a worry gene that I’ve inherited. Overall, it seems to have skipped a generation. My mother does not seem to worry like my grandmother did and now I do. However, the other day, I told her I had a sore throat. Her response was, “I hope it isn’t Ebola.” She was kidding. I think. -Al