Worry doesn’t get a holiday

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I knew all those years of selfishly tossing aside those urban legend chain letter e-mails that warned of dire consequences if I did not forward said chain letter to dozens of my friends posthaste would come to haunt me.
Turns out that I may, in fact, be a little bit jinxed.
New. On New Year’s Day, having already abided by the pork and sauerkraut for good luck AND “Don’t take your tree down before New Year’s Day lest it be bad luck” talismans, one would think my safe passage in 2008 would be assured.
Instead, my mother was involved in a serious automobile accident. Fortunately, she was unharmed but it seemed wise to drive her to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
As I turned into said emergency parking lot, the transmission in our beloved and ever-faithful minivan took a dive. Literally. Within hours, I would also spike a fever of 103 degrees and be down with the flu for days.
I’m sure you can understand why I didn’t drop everything to run across the street and buy a lottery ticket. Luck did not seem to be on my side. The funny thing is, I wasn’t all that surprised. I am a world-class worrier.
Worse, yet, I have no back burner.
You know how people say “Put it on the back burner.” Well, I’d love to, but here’s the rub: I DON’T HAVE A BACK BURNER!
I should just wait until I feel better; now I am delirious with fever and attempting to purchase a new vehicle all at the same time. Delirium and car shopping do not play well together.
Waiting, however, would be “back-burner behavior” and, as we’ve already ascertained, I do not have one. Instead, I literally will not rest until my car situation is resolved.
How can there be no telethon for this?
I realize, of course, that things happen for a reason and I truly believe it was a blessing that my transmission went out in the parking lot of the hospital.
Having your car die on the day a loved one blessedly did not really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, the worrier in me still soldiers on.
In the 21st century, there are very few choices one can make that one can’t undo if filled with regret. It may be expensive and painful to extract oneself from a hideous career, a bad marriage, an unwise bit of plastic surgery, but it is possible.
Lately, I’ve been contemplating choices that can’t be undone because I made one. I believe that once you become a parent, you are indelibly changed. Forever. For the good, no doubt, but changed nonetheless.
You become someone different: a parent. If my bones were found 1,000 years from now in an archaeological dig, my body would be that of a mother. They would know because I would be wearing relaxed-fit jeans and a Gap pullover, with remains of a ponytail found on my person.
As a parent, I have been plagued with feelings of vulnerability since my oldest child was born. I know there is a soft spot on the outside of me that I can’t completely control. A part of me will always be out in the world, like having your heart outside your body, and I will worry more about them than I do about my own limbs.
Perhaps a back burner comes with age? When my children are older I can take a “que sera sera” attitude toward life? Risk? Worry?
Or maybe not.
I know that in life, as the saying goes, sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. The bug days can, well, bug you. Jan. 1, 2008 was a bug day. Perhaps, however, the greatest blessing in life is to have all these people – and things – to worry about in the first place.
In which case, even the worries are a Godsend.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt worries about everyone too much. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; http://kymberlyfosterseabolt.com
; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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