For making me pointlessly anxious, there is nothing quite like seeing R drive off with Mr. K in the backseat of the car.
In one of my favorite books, one of the lead characters is a woman in her 30s. As a reader, we glean early on that she has experienced a terrible loss of some sort, but it’s not until two thirds of the way through that we discover what it happened. She was an artist and, desperately wanting some time to paint, she ushered her husband and two year old son out for a drive only for them to be killed in a horrific road accident.
So much for guilt-free me time, hey?
This story has lodged itself firmly in my brain. Every time R takes Mr. K out without me and I’m left at home to my own devices, I start to feel horribly guilty and anxious.
What if something happens to them?
Oh my God, where exactly is that place even?
They’re taking ages for a trip to the supermarket.
What the hell, what was I even complaining about with wanting a rest? I just need them back.
I am a terrible person.
There are so many people out there who want babies so desperately. Why aren’t I with mine?
Worse, the reason they’ve gone out doesn’t even matter to this self-flagellation. Maybe, yes, I did want a rest. Or maybe they had somewhere to go, or R has taken Mr. K to childcare to spare me my usual ridiculously convoluted commute. Shit, sometimes I’m actually working.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve driven Mr. K plenty of times without issue, let alone R being quite a good driver who has never had an accident. The whole thing has got to the point where I can’t just stay at home if they’re out somewhere together, let alone have a nap or something, because I just fixate on where they are, if they’re ok, and when they’ll get back. I love coffee and cafes and sitting and writing, so that’s where I tend to go to distract myself, but no amount of caffeine makes up for the sleep I could get if I just calmed the fuck down.
It has gotten better. I can track R on his phone and, provided they are going somewhere predictable in a predictable timeframe, I usually do relax, particularly if someone will follow up quickly if they don’t arrive. The childcare example above is a good one. Still, I needlessly worry, though.