“Mom. Don’t Freak Out…”

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

I freak out. I don’t want other me people to know this, so it will be our little secret.

My son lives over five hours away from me. He couldn’t get the time off for our Thanksgiving Holiday. I worried about him being alone on the Holiday. He told me it would be fine. A customer who comes into his work invited him over.

I acted excited and happy when my son mentioned it on the telephone. My son was going over to a total stranger’s house. I don’t know where this person lives or their last name — they could be anyone! I completely freaked out, but I waited until after I was off the phone.

I calmed myself down; my son is 23, he has his own life. I raised him. He is kind, trusting, thoughtful, courteous… all the things that will get him murdered.

Oops, I got off track. My son is a good judge of character, everything will be fine.

Well that night I called his phone, no answer. I remained calm and decided I would text him…every 15 minutes. After two hours…nothing, I decided to call again, no answer, so I began calling every 5 minutes. At 10:30 pm my son called.

He asked what was wrong since he had 42 missed calls from me. “Well, you didn’t call your mother which led me to believe you had been carved up for the holiday dinner!” My son laughed. He had a great dinner then got called into work. He worked two shifts to cover for others. What a thoughtful, caring young man. I should know this, I raised him.

Why do I freak out?

I think it comes from the area of my life where I want to believe I have a say in what happens. I can make everything okay. I am in control. Well, I am not in control. One of the things I can control is how I react.

I am great at controlling my reaction, for years I had no control of anything. I had a great poker face. Then I had the rug pulled out from under me. After this, I began to freak out over simple questions to the point of hyperventilation. I wasn’t used to making a decision. I hadn’t made a decision in over twenty years. I could no longer control my reaction. My internal “freaking out” had now become a physical problem.

I needed to change. I didn’t like who I had become.

I love the game of baseball. The batter has to watch the ball come to them…slowly. I realized I needed to do the same with life. I needed to take it all in slowly, one pitch at a time. I had to stop worrying about what pitch might be next, or worse, what if it was a curve ball?! I needed to focus on the pitch in front of me.

I spent so much time worrying about things that never even happened! I wasted time and energy on imagining how I would handle different situations, not anymore.

I now take things slow and relax. Even if the ball hits me, I will be okay. I will deal with life as it happens, one step at a time or one pitch at a time. Of course with lots of deep breaths!

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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