My feet dangle in the cool water and I relax, just a notch, watching my kids splash with friends in a neighbor’s pool. We are new to the area, and I’m grateful for the invitation to swim on this hot day.
Suddenly, a child grabs the edge near me, coughing and sputtering. His mother barely has time to ask if he is okay before the child pushes off, eager to rejoin Marco Polo.
“Did you read that article about dry drowning?” I ask the woman, unable to quiet my neurotic mind.
“Yes!” she says, wide-eyed. “That’s exactly what I was just thinking about!” Together, we review the symptoms according to Google and reassure ourselves that her son is not, in fact, dying.
At that moment, a special friendship based on Neurotic Mommy Brain (NMB) was formed. Since that time, my friend and I have talked each other down off countless ledges. We’ve worried our way through weird rashes, head lumps, bloody noses, H1N1, childhood depression, friend drama, and gender identity issues.
Alone, our minds are like monkeys travelling by vine, grasping at worst-case scenarios one right after the other. Luckily, the mind of a NMB friend understands and provides a platform in the trees where one can stop to breathe. Ironically, what we can’t do for ourselves, we can do for each other.
As I panic about my son’s fifth grade angst, she reminds me how her son went through the same thing. When she worries about her little one’s temper, I remind her how amazingly sweet he can be.
We don’t always have answers. The horrific reality of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School overpowered our NMBs, even when we tried to combine our strength. All we could do was to reassure each other that we felt the same sadness, fear, and disbelief. We could not fix this level of anxiety. But we did walk through it together.
J.D. Salinger once said, “All mothers are slightly insane.” And I believe him. We are insane because we go through life with actual pieces of our hearts running around outside our physical bodies. You’d be crazy not to be a member of the NMB tribe at one point or another. But know this: we’re here with you. Relax. Breathe. You’re among friends.