Stress bursting into pain within the body 

We ended the year looking for an answer to Conrad’s intense stomach pains. 

As I shared with him my stress load, as we put it into words, and I took steps towards self care, his stomach pangs eased. Maybe it was the medicine, maybe it was the naming of the stress factors. The reality is that we limped into the new year, carrying too much weight, worried more than it’s in our nature. The world is messed up, but it had big issues before too, we just didn’t take them personally. 

We kept it together, trying to find a good spot to offload, to reset, to regroup. I know we didn’t do the full workload. The mind was still holding onto fear, anxiety, political, environmental, natural disasters, this continent, that one, health, finances, kids… 

Anyway, we coped and stepped gingerly while sleeping through the new year madness outside our door. 

The girls follow our lead and for the most part they found stuff to do, play and we’re quite lazy around the house. I tried to take them swimming but ivy was more amiable than Jackie. So I took ivy swimming more. 

Jackie had an I tense year with school, and music and homework. She seems so tired on Wednesday when we get home at 4 after a long day of social activities. Often she gives into naps. Doesn’t take much convincing. 

But as we celebrated ivy’s 6th birthday and ate good food and Christmas cookies and frozen mocha cheesecake, Jackie got a stuffed up nose for a day or two. Nothing unusual as she has sensitive polyps. 

though the weather is mild, quite warm for this year, and some trees are blooming confused, there is little rain and little wind, we seem to Sufi are us pollution in this valley. Only the sensitive groups know it. The other ones take deep satisfied breaths of crappy air. 

Then overnight she started wheezing. I saw the family doctor and he prescribed something for allergy and decongestant. But she didn’t improve. As we went to the ER her lungs were overworked, bigger than normal and had an asthma like reaction. 

She wasn’t getting enough oxygen anymore. 

I can think of a slew of reasons, like breathing in her stuffy nose, or the bad air, aggravated by the usually adrenaline inducing swimming. This time I think she got worse as we left the pool, switching from wet and warm to the cold outdoors. 

And, i can’t help but think of her Intense heartbeat when she is stressed. 

We are planning a trip this summer and she told me through tears that she fears that she won’t do her due diligence if I’m not there to help her along. Or help her have a healthy rhythm of doing her stretches and eating healthy. I saw her reaction initially as a sign of maturity and awareness, but her little body reacted unexpectedly to stress. I’m not saying to drop everything and stay with her this summer, but as she turns a corner into preadolescence and the burdens of worry and responsibilities, getting help in confronting them rather than running away might help her long term. 

I like to fight and process my fears and demons and stress by myself. With God. But my kids are not me. My husband is not me. And my stress might spill over and even if outwardly I may be in control, my emotions reach them. 

I was proud of Conrad taking charge bravely and driving j to the ER. I nearly deprived him of this beautiful opportunity to step up and step in. To fight his own fears. He is so able. And the few hours he held I’d hand in the ER was healing in more ways than one. They are brave for each others. And I felt like the world can turn without me, and that was my treat of encouragement and hope.