We're two days into our first vacation as a family of four. And danger is everywhere. The too-tight car seat straps that might suffocate 8-week-old E. The oh-my-god height of the top bunk Z may tumble from if she gets her wish to sleep there. The tourists zipping by too fast on roads too narrow while we all wait to cross the street. The suspicious scratches on Z's back that have to be the beginning of meningitis or cellulitis or some kind of -itis. The slippery rocks here. The broken fence there. The edges and ledges and prickly hedges.
And now we are outside our favorite restaurant, where we always walk along the water after dinner. And now I am busy worrying over everyone's safety instead of enjoying the joy of being together in a beautiful place. And now Z is screaming because she has slipped and skinned her knees. And now no one is standing near E's stroller and the brake isn't on. And now Z is dancing toward the edge of a dock. And now E is so serene—is she still breathing? And now, "Honey, grab her hand! She's going to fall in the water!" And now E looks kind of red—could it be sunburn? And now...
My clothes and hair are wet. I scan the area, counting heads. There's Z. There's E. There's hubby, begging me to relax. There's our dear friend C. They are all safe.
I look up.
There is a bird.
A big, fat bird.
A seagull, actually.
And it is directly over my head.
Later, in the shower, the water pours over me. I know I am worrying over things I cannot control. My hormones are raging eight weeks postpartum. I'm physically and mentally exhausted from caring for a newborn, a preschooler, a hubby, two dogs and various friends and family. And we as a family are way out of our usual element and routine. So the volume knob of my worry, usually set to a whisper that I can acknowledge and then ignore, has been jacked up to "E-leven" (thank you, Spinal Tap).
Oh, I WANT to relax, as dear hubby is imploring me to do. I just can't right now, which is OK.
I'll find my chill eventually—as sure as shit from a seagull.