We have this saying in our family, “We just need to get to….” It tends to show up when someone, usually Kieran and sometimes me, is overly excited or nervous for an event or activity. Some event is triggering an emotional response and impacting behavior in a negative way, usually making it really hard to focus on and enjoy the moment.
The most recent example was about a month ago. Kieran and I decided to play hooky on a beautiful sunny Friday and do a little road trip to Giant’s Ridge to ski and take advantage of their great terrain parks. Kieran woke up at 4:00 AM ready to go, earlier than his usual wake up time. He was just a little excited for the day. He wanted to skip breakfast and get on the road “right now,” he stated. Kieran does not usually do well with a lack of sleep. “Cranky” comes to mind. I was thinking this was going to be a long day.
We left the house by 5:00 AM, after actually eating some breakfast and packing up the car. We both managed to have some fun on the way, playing some games and talking about the tricks we were going to work on that day. Just over thirty miles from the ski area, that changed. Kieran’s “lizard brain” started to take over and decided that he would do whatever he could to make the car ride miserable. I told him I was impressed that he made it most of the way (without the lizard brain taking over), given he woke up at 4:00 AM. That comment didn’t seem to help. He had some choice words for me and then he said, “Dad, you just need to get me to the hill! I just need to get there!!”
The last thirty miles were torture. Kieran made it as challenging as possible for me to drive safely and sanely. We finally arrived at the hill. The sun was out, and the moment Kieran clicked into his skis, his mood changed instantly and he had a smile on his face. Later that day we had a good laugh about it. It gave us an opportunity to talk about how the desire to “need to get there,” really didn’t help getting there any faster, just a little harder.
I think “We just need to get there,” started during Moira’s pregnancy. As in, “We just need to get to the birth.” The anticipation of what was in front of us made it hard to concentrate on anything else. The stress seemed to ramp up with each test that needed to be done. With each day wondering what the future would bring.
A couple of month’s After Pike’s diagnosis, Moira had a routine (well, routine for her – she was now going weekly) appointment with her perinatal doctor. Some concern showed up with the data and some extra tests needed to be done along with close monitoring. She was there, sitting on the bed, for a couple of hours getting more and more hungry. Her anxiety was building up as the doctor told her she needed to be on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. The doctor explained that we couldn’t take any risk of the baby arriving early. Every day Pike was in the womb growing towards full term he was getting stronger to fight. It was a fine line – children with CDH born before 38 weeks or after 41 weeks have a significantly increased risk of not surviving. The doctor directed her to go directly home and get into bed.
Moira left the clinic even hungrier, focused on getting home, eating and getting to bed. She was extremely emotional and worried about Pike. She had this irrational fear in her head that if she didn’t eat, it would hurt Pike’s chances of surviving – she realized it was a ridiculous thought, but couldn’t stop the intensity of the idea that she needed to get home and eat NOW to keep this child alive. As she drove down the street towards the highway she took a right turn at the stoplight, not noticing the “No turn on red” sign. Immediately she was pulled over.
As the cop came up to her window, Moira tried to explain, “Look, I just need to get home. I just left an appointment with my doctor and he told me I need to get home and in bed.” The cops response was, “Sorry ma’am, your still have to follow the law just like the all of us. I am going to have to give you a ticket.”
As he went back to his car to write the ticket, Moira began to cry. The stress of the pregnancy, the stress of the appointment, the anticipation of what was to come. All she could do was think about Pike and how she needed to eat to get him some nutrition. He needed to grow and get strong.
She made it home, shoved food in her mouth and laid down on the bed. She sighed, took a deep breath and fell asleep.
“We just need to get to the birth.” Everything will be much better once we know what we have to deal with, so we thought.
To go to the beginning of Kieran’s story, please click here.
To go to the previous entry in the story, please click here.
To find out more of why I am writing this story, please click here.