When Someone Helps You See

We inched along the highway, our morning commute filled with more traffic than usual.  I groaned as I saw the lights of an emergency vehicle, passing us along the median to reach a car in need. My daughter, Hannah looked my way and said, “What’s wrong?”

Since I had just finished the post about pythons, I confessed, “I know this sounds ridiculous, but whenever Emily leaves for school before us and I see an emergency vehicle, I am immediately filled with panic that she might be the one needing help.”

Hannah, who is often a gentle voice of reason, smiled, “That’s not a bad thing, Mom.”

I looked her way and said, “Why do you say that? Worry really isn’t a good thing.”

“Mom, it just shows you care and that you never want anything bad to happen to Emily.”

I paused. “Yes, but it isn’t good when my heart starts racing and I’m filled with dread about something that hasn’t even happened.”

“Well, that’s true. But I don’t even think about those things when I see an ambulance so at least you show some concern. I mean I have anxiety about a lot of other things, but not that.”

I chuckled a little and asked, “Well, how do you handle your anxiety about those other things?”

Hannah smirked, “You don’t want to ask ME advice about that because I have no idea.”

I looked up at the sky and sighed, “Well what in the world am I supposed to write about how to deal with anxiety if none of us can get over it?”

Hannah looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, you just tell them that this is where you are right now and that you are working to figure it out.”

My heart settled a bit. And even now as I write this, I get teary, because don’t we all just want to know that where we are in the process is ok?

And then, from the back seat, McKenzie shared about the things that trigger anxiety the most for her.

We talked about things we are afraid of; some things made us laugh, some made us nod our heads in agreement, and some things really did sound scary. And even though we couldn’t fix all of the problems that our hearts wrestle with on a daily basis, there was something healing and hopeful about having the freedom to share our fears with each other. The pythons quickly slithered away, and we drove the rest of the way to school, more together than when we started.