Or a worried Mom, in this case.
Ken and I went down to visit my Mom today, and found her in good spirits. As always, she needed to feed us first, so we chatted while we had lunch. She admitted that she had a bad night last night and cried a lot, but this time it wasn’t about Dad...it was about my sister Diana flying to China.
Diana and her husband and a couple of friends are going with a large group to spend about a week in China. They found a good deal and just decided to do it. (There’s that grabbing life by the horns thing again...it’s the way to live!) Mom wasn’t upset about them going or anything, but hearing that the flight from New York to China (I forget which city they’re flying into) was going to be 16 hours just wigged her out. Di had texted me that Mom was pretty upset about it, so I said I’d try to talk to her about it today.
She seemed mostly over it, but I hate it that she spent several hours worrying and crying over this. I realize that she has an extreme fear of flying, and I’m certain that we’ll never get her on a plane. It doesn’t matter how many statistics we throw at her about the safety of flying, she just hears “plane” and freaks out. I told her that Ken and I were probably at greater risk of a fatal accident on our Route 66 trip than Di and Tom are on these flights. I try and try to get Mom to not fret so much about these things; she agrees in theory, and realizes that it does no good, but she keeps right on fretting.
I think when Dad was around, he was able to pull her back from such relentless worrying. She’s always been a worrier—in fact, I’d say that it runs in her side of the family—but I hate to see her crying about things like this...things that have an infinitesimal chance of happening. I admit that I have a tendency towards worrying, too, which I obviously get from Mom. But I’ve worked to moderate, negate, and deflate it by doing my best to think logically and rationally, and to work it through in my mind. If I thought about everything that can kill us out in the world, I’d probably never leave the house! I just refuse to live my life in fear, and I refuse to let such fears keep me from living a fun and full life. I wish I could impart a little of my attitude to Mom, just so she wouldn’t make herself miserable with thinking such negative thoughts. But I don’t think there is any changing her at this point, so we just have to try to talk her through it, and sometimes she just has to work through it on her own.
Something else I get from my Mom is a stubborn streak about a mile wide. Oddly enough, that seems to be enough in me to counteract the “worry gene.” As in, screw you, whatever or whoever you are, you are not going to harsh my mellow or fuck up my joy. Some things take a little longer than others, but I always find my joy in the end. (I’m now thinking of the hilarious scene in “Ted” when Mark Wahlberg and Ted sing The Thunder Song. That is very much me.)
I wish I could impart a little of that defiance to my Mom, but I know it doesn’t work that way. All I can do is keep telling her, “Mom, you can’t let these things get to you so much. You can’t let them make you this upset.” But with that stubborn streak of her own, she isn’t going to listen and take it to heart until SHE is ready!
In the meantime, I’ll be over here singing “Fuck you, thunder, you can suck my dick,” and as Devo says, “I may be worried now, but I won’t be worried long.”