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The Worry Gene?

Last evening, my husband, three kids, and I went to see the new Star Wars movie – “Rogue One – A Star Wars Story.” It was good. It was exciting. It was entertaining. And yet, while I was sitting in the crowded theater, I couldn’t help but think about the newest member of our family…

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Kanga, the betta fish

You may go ahead and laugh.

Yesterday, my youngest brought home her new fish. We’ve never had a pet, and never had a betta before, so we weren’t sure what to expect. I will say that I assumed it would be a breeze to take care of a fish. (I mean, how hard can it be?)

My daughter first got her tank about a week ago from her two best friends (it was a Christmas gift). She set it all up herself, including conditioning the water. All we needed was the fish. We acclimated him to the water and let him go. Within the first hour he’d somehow got himself into the water filter. With a little assistance from me, she freed him and fixed it so he (hopefully) wouldn’t be able to do it again. Then we went to the movie and I worried about that little fish throughout the movie.

When we got home and fed him, he still seemed a little… lethargic? 3 hours later, when I went to bed, damned if I didn’t check in on that fish before going to sleep.

I have always been somewhat of a worrier. I assume that I get it from my mother, who worries about a lot of things – mostly my brothers, my children, and me. It seems to have manifested itself more strongly when I had children. I worry about them even when deep down I know they can handle whatever it is I’m worrying about. Still, it’s unavoidable.

First day of school? I worry. Will they make friends? Know how to find the bathroom? Will they get lost? At a birthday party – will they get along with all the kids? Say thank you? Wander off? (this last one actually happened, and not with a 6-year-old, but with a 14-year-old who didn’t want to play tackle football, so he walked around, meeting people. 3 phone calls to me later and we were able to talk him back into finding his party.)

I worry about far too many things; not just my kids. My husband when he flies. My parents and their health. Our political climate. Our future president. My family members. My students. My own health and future and ability to teach. Money. Traffic. Did I leave the lights on? And now fish.

Do you worry? Is there some sort of worry gene that is handed down from generation to generation? Is it a female thing? Is it a mom thing? Is it universal?

I’d love to get some insight, and to know that I’m not alone in my worries.

~Genevieve

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Irrational Fears as a Response to Tragedy

This morning my family and I went to church. It’s been a few months, and for that I feel badly. I don’t feel badly because I think I will go to hell if I don’t attend mass. I feel badly because I usually feel better after having gone. There’s something comforting and healing in going to mass. Especially where I go. The priest who says our mass is a Franciscan, and he’s just so full of joy and life. And the music is good. And I see people I know and like.

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I’ve been saying I’ve wanted to go for months, but something always gets in the way. Today, maybe because it’s Advent. Maybe because my youngest is preparing for her First Communion. Maybe because subconciously I needed some healing after Friday’s events. Whatever it was, we finally went.

We got there before mass started, and rather than feel comforted, I suddenly started to feel worried. Worried about someone bursting through the back doors of the church and opening fire on everyone. Worried there could be bullets flying and bodies hit and people panicking.

I was seriously distracted by these thoughts until the singing started. Until I saw Father Chris walking up the aisle. Until I saw his beaming face and watched my husband and children singing. Then, somehow, I calmed down.

What I wonder now is – “Is this the new normal?”

Is this how I’m going to feel whenever I’m in a crowd?

Is this how I’m going to feel when I’m in a large public place?

Is this how I’m going to feel when I’m at the mall? Or the movies?

Is this how I’m going to feel every time I drop the kids off at school? Or in town? Or at a friend’s house?

People keep saying “Don’t live in fear.” “Don’t let one instance run your life.”

It’s more than one incident. In fact, yesterday there was a shooting only an hour from here.

And in Portland, there was a shooting at a mall.

I could do more searching for recent shootings, but you get the idea. You’re on the internet. You hear news. It’s no surprise to anyone that shootings have gotten more frequent.

I hate this feeling. I hate feeling helpless. It reminds me of how I felt after 9/11. I worried about being in a public venue. About flying. About sports events. About Disneyland. About airports and train stations. About parks.

Am I the only one going through this? Is anyone else out there having (mostly) irrational fears in the wake of these shootings? Please tell me I’m not alone!