What's the worst thing that could happen?

My son, Silas, is a worrier. He thinks about things, and mulls over things and ponders things until he eventually works himself up into the kind of crying frenzy so deeply envied by aspiring soap opera actresses.

Part of the reason Silas worries is probably my own fault. Being a nurse, I'm sure he's been exposed to the kind of stories told over the dinner table that most people would find at the least revolting, and for Silas, worrisome. What's the worst that could happen? Ask Silas — he always knows.

I, on the other hand, am a whiner and a complainer, but not a worrier. Apparently, anxiety skips a generation (or two), since I remember my grandmother being a worrier, too. In fact, my sister and I used to call her a worry wart behind her back, which probably wasn't actually very nice of us.

My one source of daily worrying and anxiety comes from walking across parking lots with Silas. I am sure that Silas is shorter than the average eye level of a driver backing out of a parking space. I explain this to Silas every time we walk across the Shop N Kart lot and I force him, big 7-year-old that he is, to hold my hand the entire way.

When I watch other children crossing the parking lot without the firm grip of a grown-up hand, my anxiety shoots up so fast I have to practice some deep breathing to keep myself from throwing my body across the asphalt and carrying the strange child to the safety of the sidewalk.

Aside from this one fairly minor thing, I tend to be pretty easy-going. If easy-going means that I'm not a worrier, rather than actually easy to get along with. Don't forget, I am a whiner and a complainer.

Silas is incredibly easy to get along with. He's charming and funny and sweet and sometimes rescues drowning bees from muddy puddles. But poor Silas lives a life brimming with anxiety.

Silas' most recent source of trepidation was a visit to the eye doctor. Despite being the child of a hospital nurse, Silas is not a big fan of doctors, any kind of doctor, even eye doctors.

This may possibly stem from the time I warned him repeatedly not to stick his finger in the boiling water on the stove and finally resorted to telling him that if he actually did it a doctor would have to take a dead person's skin and attach it to his finger. I'm sorry, do you have a better way of explaining skin grafts to a kindergartner?

If you had an eye doctor appointment last week, and turned away once you walked in because you were sure you could hear someone being tortured in the back room, then you and I share an optometrist.

Silas was not being tortured; I don't believe that's a standard method of vision testing. In fact, most of the time he wasn't even actually having his eyes examined. The majority of the appointment was spent convincing Silas that the eye drops that were coming at the very end of the appointment would not hurt, permanently change his vision, or permanently change the way his eyes look.

Silas also was worried that he would look ridiculous in the roll-up sunglasses being handed out at the front desk.

Eventually, between me, the eye doctor, the assistant and unending bribes, Silas was willing to take the eye drops and finish the appointment. Of course, his vision was absolutely perfect. You almost wish something was a little wrong after all that work.

Zoe Abel is reconsidering annual eye exams for her family and is simply investing in her own eye chart. You can contact her at dailyzoe@gmail.com.

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