If I got paid a dime for every minute I've been worried about money, the economy, my husband finding a job, our health and stability, and my child's future - I'd be set for life. I've been trying to cheer myself up, but I only get hours of contentedness at a time. Inevitably, I sit at night awake worried about everything. Now, one thing you must understand is that I've always been a worry wart. I'm the type to pace around the room waiting for something to happen even when I know in my head it's not going to. I'll watch a pot with water until it boils. I'll watch my bank account thinking about how I can make it stay higher longer. I'll watch the schedule at work looking for how I can get as close to 40 hours a week without going over. I remember when I first started to worry. I think I was around 13 years old. I stayed up all night one night with just the darkness, my dog's occasional, shrill bark and my own head. Just me staring up to the top of my pretty little canopy bed. I think I was worried about a test, about a boy, about my mother not being there. I guess I was worried about typical things that teens worry about. But that's when it started. Thirteen was also the age that I decided I wanted to write a book before I died. I'm still trying to decide how I can write something that will mean something to the population. I feel like I have something to contribute but I'm so scatterbrained most of the time with this worry that I can't consistently get my thoughts to coalesce.
I'm reading a book right now that is giving me some ideas though - it's titled The Working Poor and if you haven't read it, go to your library and check it out - or if you're a friend of mine then I'll loan you my copy. I think everyone who gets into politics should read this book first. It's about good, honest, hard-working people who are only trying to SURVIVE. None of us asked to come into this world, but once we are here, it's sink or swim. I give my father a lot of credit for teaching me that. He was fierce in a lot of ways - dramatic, staunch, strict, frugal - but he taught me how to survive. He taught me to have a plan B. I've held grudges against him for not helping me more when I most needed help...but he helped me to help myself. I don't always agree with him or his logic - I'm not quite as frugal as he is because I don't believe in too much self-denial, but in hard times like now, it's his example that gets me through the rough patches.
And my job gives me reasons to like being myself and living my life every night that I work. You don't know how good you've got it until you see someone else suffering through something worse. My marriage has taken some hits over the course of our 14 years together, but two weeks ago when I saw a woman just a few years older than me lose her husband suddenly and without any warning - I am reminded of how much I love my husband and how devastated I would be if he weren't here with me. I try to teach Sarah that everyone struggles, that everyone fusses once in a while, but that you have to remember how to say I'm sorry and I love you. I've apologized to her several times for snapping at her, or for getting onto her too much, and I've apologized to Hal in front of her too so that she can see two people work through what ails them. I know she's young, but we're all in this life together and I'm doing the best I can. My mother was absent and I don't hate her - so my hope is that Sarah will know I was the best mother I knew how to be.
I try to think of what my grandmother would do or say when I get stuck, and I've been able to resurrect her thoughts and actions many times in my work in the emergency room. Things that she would say or do ring alarms in my head and come to me just when I need them to. When I have no words I hear her whispered voice somewhere in the back of my mind, and usually I can feel tears begin to well up - of course I fight them back. I have a rule - no crying in front of patients. So far so good.
In this time of my own personal need, I'm trying to think of ways to give back when our cash flow improves. I've got a few ideas so far - we'll see what happens.
Thanks for reading my ramblings.