I developed two imaginary friends when I was around seven. Blueberry was my overall-wearing, foul-mouthed, blue-skinned, marble-shooting best friend from New York City. The other was a willow-thin, pacing, whirlwind who dressed in loose tights and a tattered purple cape. I called him The Anxious.
Blueberry was my everyday companion. We rode bikes, shot hoops and ran through the woods behind the Appalachian projects where we lived. I loved her. The Anxious was a different story. He only showed up on occasion, often in the middle of the night. He was dreadful.
I still think of Blueberry fondly but she is no longer an active part of my life. The Anxious, however, is alive and well.
He still shows up every now and then. Okay, he shows up a lot. His visits are like being pecked to death by chickens.
Let me set the scene for you:
3:17am, Wednesday morning, my bedroom
My husband’s snoring awakens me. I give him a little shove, roll over, and try to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, my old friend, The Anxious is perched on the side of the bed, wringing his hands and sighing.
He puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “Oh! Hey. Good you're up. There are some things that we need to talk about.”
“Good grief, Anxious. I am trying to sleep. I’ve got a long day tomorrow. Can’t this wait?”
“Afraid not, Sosh. We really need to talk about this stuff - stat.”
The Anxious clears his throat and props up beside me on the bed.
Serenely he asks, “Sosha, do you think you were a good mom today?”
“Yes, definitely! Well, I think so. Uhh, I tried to be. I was attentive and nurturing and loving. I gave plenty of hugs and praise. We talked about our days. We read. We played UNO.”
“Yes, dear. That’s true. But, remember that text you answered when she was trying to tell you a very detailed story about My Little Pony. And, you only played two rounds of UNO when Conley clearly wanted to play three. Also, you got a little irritated when she got paint on her jeans. Oh, you totally forgot to get milk today. Who forgets milk for their child? That child had to drink water for Taco Tuesday. You had wine though, didn’t you? You didn’t forget that. Nope. The wine was a-flowin’!”
“Good grief, Anxious! You’re right. I was a horrible mother today. I’m just going to lie here in a pool of self-loathing until right before my alarm and then I’ll fall into a deep sleep again.”
“Good plan, Sosh. While you’re awake, we might as well go over a few other things that simply can’t wait until morning.”
Finances! How are your short term savings, long term savings, college fund, 401k?
Weight loss! Is this going to be the year you actually do it and stick to it? Remember, you’ve got that wedding coming up.
Health! Did you see where poor sleep may be linked to Alzheimers? Yep. You really should sleep more.
Career! How’s the book going? I thought your proposal was solid. I wonder why that agent passed on it.
Mortality! Got a birthday coming up. It’s the warm up to one of the biggies. Are you accomplishing all that you thought you would?
“Speaking of mortality, I know that since C is now six, SIDS isn’t really a concern, but maybe you should just go take a quick glance at her.”
As the sun begins to rise Anxious bids me farewell.
“Ok, honey, it’s been good talking to you, but I gotta get out of her and get some sleep. Don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow. We can discuss that thing you said six months ago.”