This Explains A Lot About Me as a Mom
I’m not a fan of watching sports on TV, which is unfortunate since 90% of the time our TV is tuned to something sports related. So while I’m cooking or paying bills or scrolling through Facebook to see what you all have been up to, I can’t help but hear a lot of pre-game, during game, and post-game talk. And every once in a while, I learn something.
For instance, do you know that in fight-or-flight situations, we lose peripheral vision? Or brain narrows so intensely on the threat that we actually get tunnel vision and can’t see the outlying areas?
I learned this while sports announcers discussed if the Kansas City Chiefs’ young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, possessed the ability to lead the Chiefs to the Superbowl. Because of his inexperience, they questioned how well he’d be able to see the field under pressure–the kind of pressure that could lead his team to a championship, or not. Would he have the peripheral vision to see potential plays, or would tunnel vision limit his options?
As the football experts moved to another topic, I found myself mulling over this peripheral vs. tunnel vision thing.
I could see myself out there on the field, Quarterback Mom, dropping back for the pass, ready to execute a perfectly planned play, looking for my daughter in the end zone, ready to catch the ball and score a touchdown. When all of a sudden a 250-pound opponent with the name FEAR written across the back of his jersey lunges toward me.
My vision closes in. All I see is Fear and its chiseled muscle, airborn now, ready to sack me before I can make the play. I can no longer see my daughter in the end zone–or any other options for making a successful play–because a threat is casting a large shadow over me–and I can’t see what’s right in front of me.
This explains a lot about me as a mom.
Like…why sometimes I think crazy things.
Here’s a for instance that happened a few weeks ago.
Hubby and I are sitting in church. His cell phone is clipped to the back of the seat in front of us, so I can see the screen. Kelli’s face appears. She’s calling her dad. I glance at him. He’s listening to the message, like I should be. My internal mom radar starts to go off.
Why is Kelli calling her dad? She rarely calls just to talk. She must need something.
I imagine my cell phone in the car where I left it, unanswered texts and missed calls filling the screen, forcing Kelli to dial her dad because she can’t reach me.
Something must be wrong.
She knows we’re at church. She should be at her church. Why would she call? Suddenly, I can feel my heartbeat.
Maybe she’s at home, sick, really sick, and needs to know if she should go to the hospital.
Maybe my grandkitty, Jasper, who thinks every living thing loves him as much as he loves it, got outside and the neighbor’s dog…
Or maybe Kelli and Brandon were on their way to church, and now their little silver car is mangled in the middle of five speeding lanes of traffic, and paramedics are using her cell phone to tell us which hospital they are transporting them to.
STOP! I scream in my head.
I’m driving myself crazy. And who knows what the pastor has said in the last 15 seconds? (Yes, it only takes me that long to go to all those places!)
Finally, Kelli’s face disappears from her dad’s cell phone. I force myself to look ahead, to focus on the message. And I kind of do. Until a notification pops up on the screen. Kelli left a voicemail. I can’t take it.
I lean over and whisper, “Kelli is trying to call you.”
Hubby grabs his phone, texts “in church,” and turns his attention back to the message.
How does he do that?!
An eternity later, the music begins. Hubby steps out and takes his phone with him. I sing the words of the closing song while the words in my head try to convince me that, if it’s something bad, Hubby will come get me.
On the last note I rush to the lobby.
“No voicemail,” he says. “Just a bunch of noise. I think she dialed me on accident.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. We were butt dialed.
Funny that my fight-or-flight instinct never considered that option while FEAR pummeled me, right there in church in front of God and everybody. I was tunnel-vision locked on to the worst scenarios I could imagine.
And so it goes.
When my girls were in high school, five minutes past curfew made my tunnel vision race ahead two months, and I would imagine the words “Mom, I’m pregnant” coming out of my daughter’s mouth all warped and slow and under-water-like, and I’d wonder how she’d go to college and be a teen mom, and I’d think how I was too tired to raise a baby. And then, a minute later, she’d walk in and toss her keys on the counter. “My gas light came on, so I stopped to fill up.” I’d smell the gasoline on her hands when she hugged me.
Or…if I called my girls and it went straight to voicemail, I’d try to remember the name of the secret party place where the teenagers hung out that the adults weren’t supposed to know about. I’d think, I bet there’s no cell service there.
And I’d wonder if our insurance covered rehab. And how you admitted someone to rehab. And where was rehab anyway?
And then I’d remember the time 8-year-old Kelli told me she wanted to go to rehab because that’s where all the famous people go to vacation. (Sigh.) I’d mourn her innocence and think, “If you don’t answer your cell phone, you might get your wish after all.”
You gotta give me some credit though. My girls don’t know about my imaginary visits to CrazyTown. I’ve kept them secret, until now. Usually, I can control myself and demand, “Why didn’t you answer your phone–fourteen times?”
However, they have experienced my undeserved mom wrath a time or two because I stayed in CrazyTown too long and worked myself into a particularly good frenzy.
But, then the truth defeats my fear, my tunnel vision clears, and I apologize for being angry.
Sometimes, though, I can’t resist issuing warnings that make them wonder what in the world I’m talking about, intense warnings like “I will not bail you out of jail!” Their eye rolls are well deserved because, without the context of my crazy thoughts, my threats don’t even make sense. But that’s okay. Saying them makes me feel better.
Know what else might make me feel better? If I’d stop letting fear shift my focus from the truth.
We know how a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes feels, don’t we Momfriends? It’s tough raising champions, calling all the right plays, completing all the passes, getting the ball into the end zone. But the good news is…we’re all on the same team. We can cheer each other on as we push back that mean, ol’ muscle-bound brute with FEAR on his jersey, right above his number–a big fat zero.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8
Moms, do you ever visit CrazyTown? I think I may have seen you there a time or two. 🙂 When have you let irrational fear blow a situation way out of proportion?
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(I should probably make a disclaimer here. My girls are good girls. Their momma’s just a little bit crazy. And their dad. But let’s not bring him into this.) 🙂