I'm sorry I freak out so much, but let's be honest. If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, I'll be the first one to sense it. You're welcome.
Humor Parenting Sex and Relationships

Dear Husband, Sorry My Special Power Is Freaking Out


Dear Husband,

I’m sorry I’m a freak-out-aholic.

Actually, attaching “aholic” to the end of that phrase makes it sound like it’s something I chose or something I can change. I can’t. It’s a part of me. The freaking-outness is something embedded deep into my bones. It oozes out of my pores and no BB cream will make it go away.

You see, I don’t want to be this way. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “Hey! I’m going to have a conniption fit about every little thing today.” But somehow, some way, over the course of decades, this is who I’ve become. A habitual hot mess.

Some people hear their children cough and think, “Huh. I wonder if little Joey is getting sick. Maybe it’s just allergies or something. Or maybe I should just dust this hell hole we live in.” Those responses to the event are completely logical. They make sense and, more importantly, they are proportionate to the event.

When I hear our kid cough? There’s no passive pondering about her well-being. There’s no menial thought about dusting. No. There is an all-out worrying rampage.

Why is she coughing? Is it a cold? Is it the flu? Is it just the flu? What if it’s worse? What if she’s going to be patient zero of some as yet undiscovered illness that’s going to eventually eradicate all of life as we know it and turn Earth into a mere pile of ash floating its way through space?

Irrational? Yes. Out of control? You betcha.

But this is me, dear husband. This is how my brain works. This is my cross to bear.

When other people’s partners are a few minutes late coming from work, they think, “Huh. Traffic must be bad. Guess I’ll pop his plate in the microwave and start the kids’ bath on my own.” These people, these sedated, normal men and women, consider plausible scenarios, accept them, and move on with their evenings.

Me? Not so much.

When you should be home by 6:30 at the latest and the clock hits 6:31, our home becomes a panic room. Not in the way of an actual panic room that Jodie Foster taught us about, but a room overflowing with sheer unhinged panic.

Why isn’t he home? What happened? Was there a horrific accident? Was he decapitated? Will they be able to locate his head? Is there someone who can re-attach his head to his body for the funeral? Will the embalmer charge me extra for that?

I sound silly, I know. You’ve heard all of my musings before. You do your best to be kind and understanding, sweetly murmuring phrases like, “It’s going to be okay. It’s not that bad. Just calm down.”

But I can’t calm down. I’m a woman on a mission and that mission is to imagine every terrible, awful, no good, very bad thing that could happen to you or our children or me or the universe or the underworld and see it happening right now this very second and OMG was that a knock on the door? Is the zombie apocalypse happening? Do we have enough water? Canned goods? Wooden stakes?

So husband, my dear, sweet, loving husband, you have committed to loving me for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and I know you believe I am very, very sick.

However, this constant fear and agitation keeps me on my toes. It’s what keeps me alert. It’s what drives me to take great care of you and our children and our home to the best of my abilities.

Sure, it’s what keeps me from getting a decent night’s sleep, but I think if the world ever comes crashing down – literally or figuratively – my meticulous attention to every little thing could end up saving us.

Perhaps my disproportionate worrying is actually a blessing in disguise. We won’t really know until the robots begin to take over the world, but when they do, you’ll be grateful. Just hold out until then.


About the Author

Toni Hammer is the author of Is it Bedtime Yet? Stories from a Mom Who Never Wanted the Job. She’s married to Luke, her college sweetheart, and is the tired mom of Lily and Levi. She’s a freelance writer and comedian who lives in Portland, Oregon where she sometimes sees the sun. You can find her at tonihammer.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.