Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Mother's Day Anecdote (albeit a few weeks late)

I have memories of my life with anxiety from the age of five. I remember being scared of losing my mom in the mall. Afraid that I would never find her again. Afraid that I would have to live somewhere else. That uncertainty, that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, was anxiety. 

I didn't know it then, but hindsight is 20/20. No one in my life knew what it was. I worried a lot as a kid. Most of it was in my mind, a never-ending loop of worry and concern. But the few times it manifested itself out into the real world, my mom was always there to save me from myself. 

My mom bringing me home from the hospital.

Every so often, the anxiety welled up in me like a flooded river. Once it hit my eye sockets, I had to do something. As a youngster, I didn't always know what to do with those intense feelings. So I did what your average child did at that age: I told my mom. Not in the well-educated discourse I have now. Kid language was all I had. It came out in the words, "I hate art class."

The memory I have from this moment in my first grade life is rather vivid. Not because of why I made this comment, but because of how my mom rescued me from myself. 

Hate wasn't a strong enough word in that moment; I really despised art class. Ironically, I loved art. I love to make art, to craft, and to draw. My grandpa taught me about drawing with charcoal pencils and shading. This was not something for which I lacked enthusiasm. There was a reason I did not enjoy art class. I didn't hate the painting, the paper projects, or the tissue paper trees. I hated the anxiety that came from going to art class.

As a perfectionist, even as young as I was, I always focused on getting things right--doing them the right way and making sure I was following directions. Sometimes I'd have to repeat the directions in my head to make sure I was correctly completing a project. It took me a little longer than the average student to get something creative done, but I was by no means slow. 

I remember my art teacher telling me, "You aren't going to finish on time. You don't have to take so long on that. Did you listen to my next set of directions?" I was called out in class a few times to keep up, an anxiety emergency in itself. Anxiety rule #1: Don't draw attention to yourself.

After some time of participating in my anxiety-filled art class, I had had enough. I got home from school one day to find my mom waiting to ask me how my day was. I broke down crying. I told her everything: I told her how I was called out in art class, I told her my teacher told me I was too slow, and I told her my teacher just hated me (which I'm sure was not close to being true). But so goes the inner-workings of a first grade mind. 

Of course, my mom did what any mom would do--she called my art teacher. 

My next class, my teacher yanked me into the hallway and asked me what I had told my mom. I stared blankly at him. Tears began to well in my eyes. His voice began to blend together like the "Wah-Wah-Wah" of the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoon.

I tried to make it through art class once a week, but my anxiety over art class plagued me. I asked my mom to stay home from school on the days I had art. I got a stomach ache before heading onto the bus in the morning of the days I had art. One day my mom asked me if I was still worried about class. Mom instincts work in mysterious ways. Tears ran down my face.

Me and my mom (sorry! That's my iPhone, not a ghost!)

My mom took my small hand in hers and kissed my palm. She closed it and looked at me as she held my fist to her heart. "No matter what happens at school, I am there with you. No matter where you are, I am right here in your hand."

From that day forward, I carried my mom with me: to school, to church, to the grocery store. My mom had worked her magic on me in the sweetest way possible. Before the knowing, the diagnosing, and the hard work, my mom was my calm in the tornado that was my mind.

I will never forget that moment; the moment my mom took the worry away. She was my rock, and I'll always love her for loving me. 

Happy Belated Mother's Day, Mom. 

Me and my sister, Ashley, playing dress-up in my dad's clothes. 

Love and happiness <3 Holly


  1. Touching! <3 {{{<*H*><*O*><*L*><*L*><*Y*> <3 & <3 {{{<*M*><*O*><*M*>}}} <3

  2. That is such a wonderful description of the meaning of motherhood. What a blessing for you to have her.


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