A Pink Shirt with Red Boots

A pink shirt with red boots on it, which was once a white shirt with red boots, unraveled me.

I ruined a shirt in my first load of baby clothes for Scarlett. (I might be able to fix it with Clorox for Colors, but I haven’t tried yet. And actually it doesn’t look so bad pink.) I’ve become so accustomed to throwing everything in together that I forgot about separating the colors from the whites in the load of new baby clothes. There was a pair of bright red socks and one of bright red pants. I even forgot about my color catchers.

Palm to forehead.

I hardly ever make mistakes with laundry, but I was just so excited to finally wash some baby clothes. My excitement made me careless.

Now the guilt and anxiety wouldn’t go away and it was a familiar and unnerving feeling. I felt like the child who couldn’t stand for her book cover to be bent, the high school student who scrutinized every interpersonal interaction, the college student who couldn’t stop checking her doors every night.

Why were these feelings back? My anxiety, OCD, and intrusive thoughts had been so well-controlled for so long with only brief flares here and there. I have worked so hard for so long. Why do I have to keep dealing with it coming back?

I wrestled with this the rest of the afternoon. I tried so hard to let it go. My husband tried to comfort me. A birthday party that afternoon distracted me for awhile. Later, after Max was in bed, I still felt terrible about it. I knew I wasn’t going to feel better until I successfully laundered more baby clothes and didn’t mess anything up.

While I sorted clothes in the girls’ room, it finally dawned on me. I don’t know why it took me so long to put this together. The anniversary. Mother’s Day was the next day and the one-year anniversary of Lucy’s death the following day. Remembering how we suffered the ultimate loss both of control and life that weekend was causing me to struggle for control a year later. My grief for Lucy and anxiety over doing better with Scarlett were combining to make me lose my mind over a shirt. Ruining a shirt in the first load of laundry for her felt like my first failure in mothering her, as silly as I know that is.

This realization helped me feel better, but the last few days have been hard, anxiety-wise. I know it will pass, as it has before, and that I know how to deal with it if it doesn’t. My mind is struggling to prove it can keep death at bay for this child by controlling every detail and also probably trying to distract me from grief over Lucy. It doesn’t help. It just makes me angry and exhausted. At least I know what my mind is up to, but that just makes it more frustrating in some ways. I hate it when I know my mind is obsessing needlessly and I can’t make it stop.

At least I know I can be okay. Hopefully, just getting through the next few days is all I need.


1 Comment

  1. Jerry said,

    May 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Love u sis we are gonna make it

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