Last summer, we had a really scary situation that resulted in me taking Cole to the Emergency Room.
It was a nasty case of food poisoning that made him so dehydrated, I didn’t think they had enough fluid in the hospital for him.
It was nearly midnight before they let him go home and we headed on our way.
As I rushed him around the mountain roads to the hospital, I felt certain it was food poisoning, but when your child is getting all kinds of tests run and needs bags and bags of fluid and looks frighteningly weak, it makes every fear come to life.
Lamar was texting me every five minutes wanting to know if I had an update, which I didn’t. It was stressful and unnerving. I didn’t tell my Mama about it until the next day.
“Why did you text me?” she demanded.
“Mama, what could you have done?” I asked. “You’re two hours away.”
“I could have been praying,” she said.
“You would have been worrying,” I replied. “I got him to the hospital and he was OK. But I didn’t want to upset you.”
Truth is, I knew she would have been frantic. This is a woman who will call the sheriff on me if I don’t call her the instant I walk in from going to the grocery store.
I was racked with worry myself and at the time, I didn’t need her freaking out on me to compound my stress and anxiety.
Usually, when the proverbial stuff hits the fan, I am the one who pauses long enough to figure out what to do and then jump in, thinking about all the potential consequences of every action.
Or as my therapist describes it: my severe anxiety makes me hyper-vigilant and causes me to anticipate every possible outcome while trying to plan and overcompensate for them.
It’s loads of fun.
So while I was processing the fact my child was the sickest I had ever seen him, rushing him to the hospital in the middle of a pandemic, it did not occur to me to call or text my mother.
Not at that moment.
I told her the next day, after he was home recovering and I knew he would be fine. The fact that she was spared an alarming text only made her quarrelsome and angry.
“If you wouldn’t tell me my own grandchild was in the hospital what else are you keeping from me?” she wanted to know.
Well, actually, lots of things.
I don’t tell her about things that I know will cause her to worry or make her upset. It’s not out of disrespect or even trying to keep her out of those areas of my life.
It’s because sometimes there are moments where you can’t find the words to process what you’re going through, so you keep it to yourself.
Speaking about it can almost feel like it gives life to some of those fears.
My mother, while she inherently means well, can always jump to the worst scenario and once she has that in mind, that’s it. She won’t be swayed or listen to anything else, no matter what I tell her.
So I don’t tell her. Not until it’s over and done with.
Sometimes, that means I have to keep the good stuff from her, too.
When Cole recently competed in a contest, I didn’t share it with her until after it was over. It was his first time competing and he came in fifth. I was proud of his efforts and what he had done, and it inadvertently slipped out in conversation.
“You just don’t want me involved in his life,” she told me the next day after she had had ample time to ruminate.
Far from it.
Sometimes, we don’t share if we aren’t sure how those things are going to play out. It’s a lot easier to share in the disappointment when it’s over with, than to have some folks get their hopes up only to be crushed right along with us.
A safeguard of sorts, I suppose.
It’s funny. The very same people who often try to protect us from being hurt through various and sundry means are the very ones we try to shield from something so they won’t worry. Or so they aren’t emotionally crushed alongside us when things don’t go our way.
She was upset; I get it.
In fact, I’ve been there.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I’ve asked on countless occasions.
Lamar and Cole exchange a glance and both sigh.
“We knew you’d just be upset,” Cole said.
“You didn’t need one more thing to worry about,” Lamar added. “We took care of it.”
In some ways, those secrets, though unsettling when discovered, can also provide some much-needed shelter and relief.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.