Monday, November 2, 2009

Who's the parent here?

Up way too early today thanks to another nightmare.

"It's just a dream," Hubby whispers.

But I'm afraid it's not.

You see, about once a week, I have a nightmare about something happening to one of my parents. Usually, it's a heart attack. These dreams are so often and so REAL that they are starting to really get to me. They affect my life.

For years now, I have had this thing where whenever one of my parents calls me (they always use their cell phones and I have caller ID), I am terrified that they are calling to tell me something happened to the other one. I am not kidding you when I say I think this almost every single time one of my parents calls me. I am sick with worry about it.

Yes, I'm a worrier. In a big way.

But the thing is, I think I'm justified in my worrying. I don't think I'm overreacting or being stupid.

Take my dad for instance. He is 56 years old and comes from a family with a HORRIBLE history of heart attacks. His dad died in his 40s of a heart attack. His mom could have died a few years back from a bad one, but thankfully she survived that and also a stroke. Two of his younger brothers have had heart attacks.

My dad was a smoker up until recently. I THINK he's quit, but I'm not 100% sure. He also carries a lot of extra weight around his middle (but he's working on it through Weight Watchers right now) and he does a LOT of very strenuous work outside, like felling and hauling trees, etc. He also has some stress issues (When he gets mad, he gets MAD). I am so scared he's going to just keel over one of these days. And when I say scared, I mean TERRIFIED.

And then there's my mom, who's 53. She has taken steps lately to exercise pretty regularly, now that she works in a fitness center, and she's not overweight, but my mom SMOKES, and has since she was a teenager. Nothing I can say or do seems to make a difference. I thought maybe when I had kids that would change. I thought maybe she'd want to quit because she would want to see her grandsons graduate, get married and make her a great-grandmother, but nothing seems to trump that DAMNED nicotine addiction and habit she's got going on. It stinks (literally and figuratively) because when she visits, my kids SEE her smoking. I once caught Logan pretending to smoke a pen or something. I flipped out on him, and he said "But Grandma smokes."

Yeah. How do I get it through my son's head that just because someone he loves SO MUCH smokes, it's NOT OK FOR HIM TO DO?!?!?!?!

So, I had the same old nightmare this morning. This time it was my dad. I woke up and laid there with my gut all knotted up. Then there's Hubby, wondering why I'm lying in bed sobbing at 4 a.m., and I can't explain it to him because it's "just a dream."

Ugh. Sometimes I feel like I'M the parent and THEY'RE my kids, I worry so much.

Anyway, I just needed to get that off my chest. I am 33 years old and my parents live six hours away, but I am still very close to them. I talk to each of them on the phone every week, usually more than once. I still call them for advice. When one of the kids does something cute or naughty or if I want to share some good news, they are still the ones I want to call first. I want them around for a long, long time. I love them so much it hurts.

I can't bear thinking about life without them, and it keeps me up at night.

So that's that. Just needed to vent, I guess.

But hey, do me a favor, give your parents a call today and tell them you love them.