This past week was spring break for Zane and I. It was not spring break for my husband, who works in another district. I had grand plans of taking Zane to the Witte Museum and maybe going for a walk with the dog, or perhaps a drive in the country.
None of that happened. Because I'm on chemo, my immunity is down, and I caught some random virus that knocked me down. I've had this particular malady before, and both times it turned into something more, either croup or pleurisy(yes--I contract 18th century maladies. It's my thing). My oncologist delayed my chemo and put me on antibiotics, and I've slept as much as I can in between coughing up my lungs. Zane was great the entire time, but I felt bad that he wasn't getting to do anything fun.
And then we got a phone call from a mom inviting Zane to a sleepover at her house. I was excited. Zane was excited. Zane's first sleepover! I said yes, excited for my son, and hung up the phone. That's when I started thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Because that's what moms do. A litany of my little boy's idiosyncrasies played in my head:
Zane likes to strip down to his undies at home.
Zane only eats certain foods.
Zane argues if things don't make sense.
Zane likes to have a story read to him before bedtime. To delay bedtime.
Zane is up before the crack of dawn.
Zane has a tendency to ask about inappropriate topics at the most inappropriate times.
All the things I love and accept about my son, I started to see through someone else's eyes. I didn't like the idea that my son might be seen as odd or weird or difficult, but I had to accept that this might happen. However, I wasn't going to deny him the opportunity to at least try new things because of my fears. He has to experience the world, and that is the way it has to be. I needed to let go, at least a little bit. I sucked up my anxieties, and started talking to him about what he wanted to bring.
That night, Zane wrapped me in a hug and asked "What if I miss you?" I smiled at him and told him that he would be having too much fun to miss me. Inside, however, I was asking the same question. I already knew I would miss him!
Zane was out of the car before I turned off the engine, and he even remembered to get his booster seat out of the car. He was inside and upstairs with his friend before I even had a chance to say goodbye. I felt a little twinge, but I let it go, and drove immediately to the store to distract myself.
And I waited for a text or phone call, telling me that Zane wanted to come home. My husband came home, and we went out to eat by ourselves at a restaurant that featured actual utensils. He made sure that my phone was turned up as loud as it could go. He made sure that I left my phone on the table while we ate. He checked my phone several times during the night to make sure that nobody had called or texted.
It was a shared anxiety, as it turns out. It was his first sleepover. We were both having trouble letting go. We went to sleep expecting to be awakened by a phone call that never came. Zane did great on his first sleepover, arriving home happy.
He survived. And we did too.