There’s nothing, I repeat nothing that sobers you up more than a phone call from your Mother informing you that your son who is hundreds of miles away is ill and has had to go to the Doctors.
More on that later though.
Remember in my last post I wrote about how I was so over 2018 and it’s utter shiteness and that I was quite ready for 2019 to show its face? Yeah, 2018 had a little more in store for me, let me tell you.
As my son gets older, I find it increasingly difficult to leave him. Not so much when I’m going to work, I can, on the whole, deal with that guilt quite well. However, when it comes to going out of an evening, perhaps going away for a night or on the extremely rare occasion I’m away for a weekend; the anxiety leading up to this event is almost too much to bare.
The anxiety. The guilt. The worry. The panic. The catastrophizing. The dread.
It’s never worth it.
I tell myself its mind over matter. Everything will be fine. He’s always, always, ALWAYS in good hands. The very best in fact. And it’s important for me and his Dad to enjoy the rare time just the two of us. Or for me to spend a bit of time with my friends – something I’ve not done since last year. But still, that doesn’t stop the impending feeling of doom I’ve found myself dealing with when it comes to leaving him for a social event.
Amsterdam was booked a long time ago. Long before this anxiety I’ve been experiencing reared its head.
As I approached the date we were due to leave I found myself dreading it more and more until the weekend before I turned to Wes and told him I wasn’t coming. I couldn’t do it. It’s not fair on our little boy. It’s not fair on me. It’s not fair for us to ask his Grandparents to look after him while we go off and enjoy ourselves.
It took a couple of days but Wes managed to talk me round. It got to the day before we were due to depart and dare I say it, I was actually looking forward to it. I was, somehow, managing to push the guilt to the back of my mind.
There was some trepidation from both myself and my little boy around me going to Amsterdam. It wasn’t like weekends or days gone by when he was that much younger and that unaware. He’s so aware of everything at the age of 4. So much so he told all of his teachers at pre-school that “Mummy and Daddy are going to Amsterdam this weekend” something that wasn’t sitting well with me.
Anyway, Thursday – Departure Day, rolled round. I was working in the morning then picking my son up from pre-school to spend some time with him before heading to the airport that evening. Work was manic. I didn’t have time to scratch my arse, let alone ponder or feel anxious about my impending jolly.
When we finally left my Mum’s house and bid farewell to our son, he barely batted an eyelid. The long goodbye wasn’t even a bye. He didn’t even look up.
Once we were in Amsterdam I felt a little better. Although waking up in a foreign country the following morning; sans son, was a bit fraught on the old emotions but I powered through. When I called my Mum that morning he was still asleep but I wasn’t concerned. I text a little later and she said she was keeping him off school as he seemed a bit off colour but nothing to worry about. An hour or so later he was full of energy and back to his normal self.
That soon changed.
Wes and I went for a walk to collect our football tickets for the England v Netherlands match later that evening, stopping off in a couple of bars a long the way for a beer or 2 (or 3). I text my Mum again with a simple “everything OK” text message like I always do when she’s looking after him whilst I’m working. Mere minutes later the phone rings.
Everything after that phone call moved at the speed of light and before I knew it I’m in an Uber on the way to the airport on a rescheduled flight.
My heart was in my mouth. My palms were sweaty. My mind is racing. Constantly racing.
5 hours after the phone call I’m home. At the pit of his bed crying. Crying my eyes out. And you know I’m not a crier. I rarely cry but it all came out. The relief. The regret. The fear. The anxiety. A multitude of so many emotions.
He’s fine now. It was a flu type bug and the following morning he was running around like nothing had happened.
We, on the other hand, are now nursing a very expensive credit card bill. Something I deserved, I told myself, for leaving him in the first place.
I have a whole lot of anxiety to deal with at the moment. It’s been bubbling up for a while and I can identify the main cause. It stems from health anxiety. Something I’ve always had, something I’ve written about before.
Growing up I was always anxious about illnesses and about death. Now I’m a Mother, I’m worried about his health and the potential illnesses he could catch.
I’ll write about this soon. Because you know, writing is catharsis. It’s my free therapy.
But for now I just had to write about the ill fated trip to Amsterdam. Bloody love that city an’ all.
The day after we arrived back, I was flicking through a Sunday supplement when I happened upon the above piece.
48 hours in Amsterdam? We didn’t even manage 24.
You couldn’t make it up really, could you?