Recently as we were settling all the kids down for bedtime, Rob started crying. Well wimpering/whining is a better description. He claimed he couldn't sleep and was lonely in his room. This is noteworthy for the simple fact that he is the only kiddo who does go to bed easily; we usually put him to bed first, because he is frequently asking for sleep. Enter psychologist-wanna-be mama trying to figure out what's wrong...
Rob told me with complete sincerity that he feared he has watched Toy Story too many times. "What if all my toys come alive while I'm asleep?" he asked. Score points for me that I didn't burst into guttural laughter at this point--I could tell this kid was serious. So for the next ten minutes or so we discussed the fact that Toy Story is made up for our entertainment, but what if it could be true? Rob's toys -- just like Andy's -- would love him! All of his plastic dinosaurs would roar and scare away any bad guys. His stuffed astronaut would fly him to space if need be. His remote controlled Bigfoot would be hungry for a banana and would call Rob "Buddy". And last but not least, his Fisher Price samurai ninja castle would host the most amazing sword fighting competition ever, which Rob would enter and win.
Rob eventually slept that night after he and I put a new spin on his "fears". Then the wheels in my head began to spin: Yes, Rob may have watched Toy Story too many times and felt his room was now a scary, dangerous place; but I grew up thinking all the worlds' problems could be solved in 30 minutes like the Huxtables (The Cosby Show), if you were either pretty enough or conniving enough you could have whatever you wanted (Beverly Hills, 90210 -- the original, not the remake) and all you really need in life is a gaggle of best F*R*I*E*N*D*S. Okay, the latter is true. Nevertheless, I was always keen enough to know these were Hollywood made-for-screen happy endings. So my seemingly irrational fear has always been that I and the life I live would not add up to some ideal portrayed by actors.
I have said it before and will continue to admit I am a worrier. Sure, I may be closer to midlife than ever before, but I still have plenty of dreams and goals for the future. On my list are an array of personal crusades, monetary dreams, hopes and wishes for my kids, materialistic desires, and plans for advancement. The future is scary. What if some unforeseen obstacle or foe comes alive when I least expect it and crushes everything I'm attempting? It's okay to worry or fear the outcome when it motivates you to think outside the box, make a change to your current efforts, or ask for help from a trusted source.
Have you ever called someone in the middle of a fit "irrational"? I'm pretty sure if yes, you didn't relieve any of their pain. When you are consumed with such inner turmoil, you likely lose the ability to think clearly in the moment. Maybe others will think you are losing it. But hopefully you can take a moment -- like I did with Rob -- and entertain your fears. Is the worst case scenario as bad as it was once thought to be? Perhaps going through all of the what ifs will help you sleep better at night, too. Here would be the time to make any changes or preparations for a happier outcome. There is nothing like a calmer heart to relax the soul.