I get heavy anxiety when I’ll be spending time with my kids.
What I understand about fear versus anxiety is that fear is a response to a present threat or danger. Anxiety is the anticipation of a preconceived or potential threat or danger.
It’s not likely I’ll encounter a situation with my children where I’m not in control. But I wonder:
what if my three-year-old doesn’t want to go this time because he knows he’ll have to say bye again?
what if my 11 month old doesn’t want to go to sleep for a nap or at nighttime?
what if I’m so sad that I can’t enjoy my time with them or the rest of the family?
what if I am still exhausted from the trip, become irritable, and I lose my cool?
I want to be focused. I want to feel like I will be fine. I want to be settled and in control. I want to be in the moments there with them. Children know when something is up. They know when your emotions are out of whack. They feel it, and they take from it sometimes like how it’s impossible to calm an infant if you are frustrated, nervous, or angry. I feel like I project sadness onto them.
It’s thinking of the goodbye that cuts me the deepest. I think that I would be okay if I never thought of the goodbye until I was dropping off the babies at their mother’s. Today it’s just too hard to shut it off.
I worry about the distance. My children live three states away, a 10 hours drive, from where I’m stationed – from where we were all stationed. I don’t get a choice to be reassigned closer to them. Things don’t work like that.
I worry that Maddalyn won’t know me, because I’m not around enough. I worry that Aiden will grow distant from me, because I’m not around enough. I worry that they will blame me when they start to understand things. I worry that they will hate me. If they hate, they can’t learn from me. They would reject my family and the goodness of being exposed to my family.
I don’t have any proof that shows me these things won’t happen. All I have is faith. All I can do is hope. I hope that in the days, hours, and minutes that I have with them I can project the joy they give me. None of the other emotions that I feel in this situation would benefit them at their ages.