I have anxiety. I am a worrier. It isn’t coded into my genetics. It’s caused by infection, damage by infection, patterns, methylation, you name it. I wasn’t an anxious child. At least I don’t think I was.
But I am an anxious mother. And I hate playdates. My kid is being home schooled this year (or unschooled, really) and we’ve sort of avoided “friends” for the year. Not that he had a whole lot of play dates during the past three years of our healing journey, but certainly a few per year.
Today, we had his friend over. From 10:30 until 6:30. Or was it later? It was a long day while his dad went to pick up his big brother at college. This friend is smell neutral, which makes him really easy to have over. He is articulate, confident and solid. And his parents are terrific.
I kept the friend safe enough. Last time I forgot to tell a different friend to remove his socks if they were going to be running around. Several stitches later, I learned my lesson. So I was ready this time. Socks off. Warnings made. Anxiety on full blast.
I fed them. I watered them. I took them to the park. We went to the tennis courts. I let them play “pull the squid out of the water,” and all kinds of things that involved the possibility of joints out of place. I let them swing at the park so hard that I nearly barfed. Each time they leaned back at the same time they were flying forward my vertigo kicked in, waves of nausea rushed over me and I saw visions of the swing set flipping over. (Flashback to 1970 and my own childhood.)
But I did fine. They did fine. We survived it all. And none of us took tranquilizers.
It’s so hard with a kid like mine. He gets tired, and pretends he isn’t. He is so hungry for playtime with kids his age that he just won’t stop. He is in their faces, farting on them,arguing with them, bossing them around. My kid is irritating. And delightful. And fun. And intense. And hard. And hungry for friends.
The buddy didn’t want to watch a movie, but was really gracious when I told him that my little guy was really tired and needed to refuel. He was a good sport when all my kid wanted to do was “fight like men” with him, after the refueling. They beat the crap out of each other for hours. And I wish I were kidding.
I am exhausted. Not by the kids, but by my worry. And my sadness that my little guy doesn’t have more experience with this whole “play date” thing. But as long of he has me for a mother, I have to accept my limits. I live with narrow options right now, still. I am more well than I was three years ago. I was AT the park. That’s a big deal.
I don’t know what this narrow world means for him long term, but for now, it’s the way we need to roll.