Rust of Life

“Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power. A childlike and abiding trust in Providence is its best preventive and remedy.”

It came out of nowhere this week, a pervasive anxiety I can’t seem to shake.  It doesn’t even make any sense.  Nothing awful is going on, I’m not worrying about Christmas, and I’m not taking hormones or at a particularly hormonal point in my cycle.  I’m just anxious – crazily anxious!  Life’s a little rusty around here, and the rust makes things squeaky and inefficient.

You know what’s killing me lately?  Gabe, and his incessant need to have someone play with him.  I know people say to enjoy it while it lasts because it won’t be long until they don’t want your company at all.  But this is a little out of control!  I thought it would be a bit better once he went to school – he’d have playmates at school and would crave a small amount of independent time at the end of the school day.  But I’ve found the reverse has happened, and when he gets home he is hardly willing to let me out of his sight, let alone play by himself, even for a few minutes.  I attempt to get us ready for dinner amid constant choruses of, “Mommy!  Play with me!”  I don’t mind it unless it comes with a side of whining.  But if the whining starts I’m ready to find a closet and sit on the floor rocking with my hands over my head.

So I’m wondering – what’s wrong here?  My child, the one who was formerly able to entertain himself for 20-30 minutes at a time without too much difficulty – is now almost entirely unable to stay in a room by himself, even if I’m within eyesight.  If I’m not on the floor listening to him play (but not actually playing with him – he mostly just wants to narrate what he’s doing) he’s practically beside himself.  And I?  Start losing my mind.  Is this a phase?  A new normal?  A sign that he needs more attention?  A sign that I’ve screwed him up hopelessly?  Because I’m at a definite loss here.

But what is life without a little squeak?  I’ll take the squeak any day when I think about the grand scheme of my life.  Especially when its preceded by days like yesterday, when I felt sort of awful but ended up drenched in sweetness.  By the time I picked up Gabe from school yesterday afternoon, I thought I was going to be entirely unable to hold my head up for another moment, and on our way home I told him so.  He agreed that if I’d rest on the couch he’d watch tv, and it seemed like a blissful arrangement.  So we got home and he snuggled into his corner of the couch while I snuggled into mine.  And couldn’t. fall. asleep.


So I looked down at the other end of the couch and remembered the days when Gabe and I “snuggled down” for our afternoon naps and I told him I didn’t think I was going to be able to sleep unless I had someone to snuggle with.  After a little persuasion, he suggested I snuggle with him on his end of the couch, so I reoriented myself with my head on his lap and he absent-mindedly patted my head until I drifted off.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say that he’d occasionally jerk his whole body in an effort to startle me and make himself laugh, but I didn’t care because a nap on your 6-year-old child’s lap?  Is bliss, any way it comes.

This has been a busy week with appointments every day, and I think the busyness contributed to my anxiety.  I have only one thing left – a major haircut – for tomorrow, and then my time will be a little less committed.  But dude… a haircut!  I am not good at haircuts!  And haircuts while anxious?  Don’t bode well.  But I’m still going to do it because I think if I visited a farm the animals would mistake my hair for straw and would be thrilled at the plentiful feast before their eyes.  And that’s just not okay.  So I’m going to pack a little Xanax and call it a day and hopefully everything will be okay.  After all, it is just hair and it does grow.

Looking forward to when things feel a little less rusty.  For now, I’m trying to appreciate the unique patina it brings with it.  Maybe it’s not the patina I want, but I might as well revel in what I have.

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