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The word of the day is anxiety. This is an interesting word. Sometimes it means something negative like stress. Sometimes it means excitement. We can be anxious to do something and that feeling is good or bad. Everyone is different therefore everyone reacts differently to the same situation.

Parker is in Sacramento right now with the rest of his fourth grade class. Fourth graders study state history and our school district allows the students to go to the state capitol to experience state history and civics for themselves.

Yesterday Parker said he needed to have a fun day because he couldn’t wait for the day to be over so he could go on his field trip. I don’t know how fun the day was but time eventually was kind enough to roll into a new day. I got Parker up first since he needed to be at school at 7:35 this morning. His eyes popped open immediately. He jumped up and whisper shouted, “Finally! I have been awake almost all night!”

He was so excited. He has been eagerly anticipating this trip for weeks. Parker has joyful anxiety. I just have the plain old terrified kind.

Heath wanted to try to work from home so he could help me with the weird morning schedule. When he had an early morning meeting yesterday that kept him home we didn’t think it would happen today. I was willing to do what I had to do. I am the mother. I was relieved to hear his boss called yesterday announcing he was working from home on Thursday and suggested Heath do the same. Heath told him how it would be helpful for me to get everyone ready for school if he could take Parker to school early for me.

I was so nervous this morning I was extra glad Heath could take Parker to school. Fun Dad should take excited kids to school for their field trips. I’m not worried anything bad is going to happen. I just don’t like changes in routine. They make me feel nervous. I didn’t want Parker taking anything to school since everything would be left on the bus all day. But his teacher sent an email yesterday pushing the idea of a small backpack that would stay on the bus. I didn’t know what to do.

In the end we went with our original plan of sending him with his snack in a paper bag. The snacks could not be eaten on the chartered buses but would be consumed as soon as they arrived in Sacramento. Everything was easily disposable. He did take his homework binder so it could chill in his classroom while he was gone. And I put his $10 bill in a baggie to be stored in his pocket. The last stop of the day is to a gift shop and the kids were told they could bring some spending money.

Parker only had a couple bucks. I am always out of cash. Heath didn’t have anything smaller than a $10 bill. So we told Parker to try to spend less than $5 but if he had to spend more he could. That should be interesting. I can’t wait to see what he comes home with. We told him not to spend it all on candy. A lot of kids do that. Heath did say that if Parker comes home with some souvenir that cost over $5 he would be ok with it. We’re really just curious to see what Parker does with double the money he asked to take on the trip.

Parker left just before 7:30 this morning. Half an hour later Gavin left to catch the bus. I hopped in the shower and took Gwen to school at 9:00. It was a crazy morning for sure. Everything feels normal now. But soon I will go tutor and then take only Gwen home. I will be antsy while I wait for word that Parker is back. Now that I think about it I am glad all over again that Heath is home. Parker will probably return at the same time Gavin’s Track practice is over. I’m pretty amazing but it is hard to be in two places at once.

Even though I was nervous about this field trip I handled it pretty well. When Gavin went on his first campout I was crazy nervous. I was so afraid he wouldn’t have enough clothes to stay warm. Then when he went on the hike up Mt. Tamalpais I struggled to resist the urge to fill his backpack with pounds of food. This is what I do when I get nervous about activities away from home. I want to pack my entire closet so I can be ready for anything and I want to pack the whole pantry in case my blood sugar drops low.

How do other people do it? How much food does a normal 11 year old boy need on a seven mile hike? I don’t know. Pack it all! He’s always hungry! I run into the same worries with Track. Is one Nature Valley granola bar package enough? It has two crunchy bars inside. Will that one water bottle be enough water?

Tell me I didn’t freak out when I heard that some Track student in San Jose collapsed and died during Track practice on Monday. I’m sure he passed while I was at the parent Track meeting. I heard the story the next day on the news. I don’t know what happened to him. He was involved in other sports. It’s not like this was his first experience exercising in the heat of the day. But for some reason he collapsed. His coach tried to do CPR. They rushed him to the hospital and he died. I had to take a deep breath and trust that my son would be fine. It’s nerve wracking!

Oh and when he didn’t text me that practice was over yesterday as early as he had on Monday I was starting to pace. Practice probably will end closer to 5:00 on a regular basis but I didn’t know. I was expecting to get him at 4:45. Then when he told me about his workout yesterday. Yeah, my legs felt like jelly just listening to him!

This is what it means to be a mother. I carry my heart in my throat or wear it on my sleeve and I let my kids go out in the world anyway. They are so happy and excited. They don’t have the life experiences I do yet to worry. That’s my job. Of course worrying has always been my job. I have always been negatively anxious about everything. For as long as I can remember I have been like this. I remember waking up in the middle of my tonsillectomy and freaking out because I couldn’t remember what was happening. The nurses and doctors tied me to the operating table and then I was screaming because I was so mad. I was 8 years old. I have always been a worrier.

My kids are going to come home from their adventures today with so many stories to tell. I will be grateful I suspended my natural instincts and let them go. Life is meant to be enjoyed after all. Oh but it doesn’t mean I don’t eagerly anticipate their return!