I never was one to worry. I generally leave that “habit” to my mom and to my husband. But since I became a mama, I think I’ve become a bit of a worrier myself.
Sometimes I find myself thinking about Carlo at school, wondering if he’s doing okay. Is he happy with whatever he is doing? I pray daily that he doesn’t get bullied, or worse, do any bullying. And when it’s very cold, I worry that he may have forgotten to put his coat on before rushing outside to play during recess.
(That seems normal, doesn’t it?)
But sometimes, I have strange thoughts. Like, each time I go down our stairs here at home, at the back of my head, are fears like these, “If I fall down the stairs and break my neck, what will happen to Carlo? Who will pick him up at school? Who will know that I’m hurt, lying on the floor since I am all alone and Charlie is at work?!” And if you know me well, you’d know that I’m a First-Rate Klutz so falling down the stairs is entirely possible. Heck, I’ve been known to somehow trip on a perfectly flat floor or to step on my own feet while walking.
(Please tell me that such thoughts about falling down the stairs are normal. If they are not, please lie. Hahaha.)
Then there are the worries I have while driving.
Driving used to be such a relaxing thing for me. When I lived in Manila, I loved being able to get behind the wheel of my car, pump up the volume on the radio, and use the time driving to and from work as my “ME” time or my bonding time with Fred, my brother.
Now, in Canada, I’m faced with a totally different set of circumstances and road rules. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to drive. But here, I also now have more at stake because I am responsible for a child’s safety. So, driving is not as relaxing anymore. Driving, for me, is now an adrenaline work-out because my senses are always on hyper-alert whenever I’m behind the wheel.
See, here in Canada, people drive at such fast speeds. The speed limit on our highways is 100kph and cars usually go faster than that. On the inner-city streets to and from Carlo’s school, though the limit is at 60kph, there are still crazy drivers going at 90-100kph. It can get insane.
Every day on the news, there are reports of people getting killed in some sort of vehicular accident. And every week on our school run, I kid you not, I see at least 2 cars that have been caught speeding by the police.
But what really freaked me out was the horrible accident we saw just last week.
Last Friday, as Carlo and I were going to school, we were stuck in a traffic jam. Turns out, up ahead of us, there was a mini-van which was T-boned so badly that its sliding door looked like a crumpled cloth curtain. There were these Elsa and Doc McStuffins backpacks strewn on the road and I spied what looked like pink sneakers amidst the rubble of metal and asphalt.
I hope the kids made it out alive.
It dawned on me then that “Hey, that could’ve been us.” Some idiot must have ran a red light, or sped up when the light was yellow, and hit the mini-van that was turning onto the road (because it was probably the mini-van’s turn to go).
That mini-van could’ve been us. Carlo and me.
And so now, when I drive, I tend to worry a little.
I worry about other people flooring their accelerators trying to beating the red light. I worry about the crazy motorcycle drivers who zip in and out lanes in the blink of an eye. I worry about the reckless driver of that 18-wheeler truck who is taking a turn too fast on a freaking two-lane inner-city road. I worry about the woman in the car next to me who is texting while she is driving. I worry about the woman behind me who is busy trying to put her mascara on while we are stopped at the intersection.
I find myself mentally gearing up for battle every school run, I tell you.
As a parent, I think a little worrying can be good. It certainly keeps me more focused and alert when I’m driving Carlo around. I also know that my weird thoughts of potentially falling down the stairs has made me more careful especially when I’m home alone.
What about you guys? Do you find that now that you’ve become a parent you have more worries?