Jun 26 2017

Today I Forgot How to Be Tough

Today I Forgot How to Be Tough

It’s been a long time since I let myself cry. Months, maybe. I’m not talking about the welling up that happens when your baby does something magical, or the occasional wobbly chin because that sneaky-sad P&G commercial caught you by surprise. I mean a heaving, hearty cry that lasts way longer than a single sob, the kind that makes your eyes puff up by morning.

I cried a lot more often in the beginning, when we first moved — but I was pregnant then, and I got to blame it on hormones, and after the baby was born I told myself to toughen up, sister. Most of the time, I am moderately successful at this: I try to end every day (and every post) with a glimmer of hope; I’m a fanatic about practicing daily gratitude; I never go to sleep without counting my blessings, and there are so many — so, so many. An immeasurable amount. I am deeply, guiltily aware of how much worse things could be, and for that reason I sometimes pretend to have no problems at all. Continue reading

May 1 2017

To the Heroes Who Love Me When I Am Anxious

To the Heroes Who Love Me When I Am Anxious

Most of the time, I’m fine.

Or, more accurately, I’m “fine.” Most days, I function just like everyone else appears to function: I grocery shop, I play outside with my children, I laugh easily. I seem relaxed and comfortable and carefree. There is a soundtrack always playing in the background of my mind that is filled with worries and what-ifs, but on these days the music is low. Controlled. Almost muted.

And then there are days like the one last week. My husband was out of town, I was alone with the kids for several days and nights, and a few new-ish friends popped over for a couple hours to have some wine and watch a show. After a little while, I went upstairs to put my daughter to bed; and by the time I rejoined my company, I was drowning under the first crushing wave of a phobia-related panic attack. Continue reading

Feb 23 2017

9 Times I Wish I Had a Sanitation Chamber

9 Times I Wish I Had a Sanitation Chamber

When I taught high school, my students always joked that they were going to get me a sanitation chamber for my classroom. “We’ll install it just inside the door right there,” they teased, “so no one can come in without using it first.”

Someone said this every single year, because apparently I am not shy about my aversion to germs. Each time, my first reaction was to laugh with them because teenagers are hella funny. And then my second reaction was to get really, really, unbearably depressed because human-sized sanitation chambers are probably super expensive, and anyway how exactly would one go about getting something like that approved by the Board?

Then I had children of my own. Forget school — I need a sanitation chamber for my HOUSE. Like, yesterday. Yes, yes, I know: exposure to germs builds immunity, blahbity blah blah, but a person can dream. There are so many instances when it would totally come in handy: Continue reading

Oct 15 2015

Pumpkin Patch Redux

Pumpkin Patch Redux

So we tried again.

This past weekend, we drove alllll the way back to the pumpkin patch for a redo. It was important to me that P be able to replace her “yucky” memories with new ones — and I needed to do the same. Part of phobics’ irrationality is that we tend to associate completely unrelated things with the sick event, even though we know they don’t really have anything to do with anything. (i.e. “I wore this outfit the last time someone threw up. Better not wear this outfit anymore.” Or we might remember the exact date of the last time we got sick and then become uneasy around that same date every year. Ridiculous, right? We know.) Anyway, since the pumpkin patch threatened to become a semi-scary place, I forced myself to go back ASAP.

What a relief to see the happy, non-feverish version of P! First stop: the face-painting clowns. She chose the glittery rainbow option and sat exceptionally still. Continue reading

Oct 8 2015

Confessions of an Emetophobic Parent Pumpkin Patch Fail

<span class="entry-title-primary">Confessions of an Emetophobic Parent</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Pumpkin Patch Fail</span>

It’s October, which means it’s almost Halloween, which means I’m allowed to tell you a horror story.

For most of you, this will not be a horror story at all. This will sound like a standard, Duh-You-Have-A-Toddler-What-Did-You-Expect? story, and if you have kids, no doubt you will have been there, done that. But I am a parent who has an irrational fear of throwing up, and I can only see this experience through that lens. Continue reading