I’ve reached a time in my life when it’s easy to be anxious about so many things. I think that most mothers of small children, whether living abroad or not, are often plagued by the anxiety bug.
For the last six years, my family and I have lived in Congo and we’re moving away in just a few weeks. I find myself thinking back to all those worries, big and small, that I had about raising two kids in the proverbial “heart of darkness.”
So as an exercise of gratitude and reassurance before we begin our next African adventure, I’ve been reflecting on all the what-ifs –real and imagined – that never came true.
Those mosquito bites never led to malaria.
There were no broken bones, stitches or other ailments that couldn’t have otherwise struck us in the United States.
Getting stopped by the police was never more than a hassle and a good story.
Our girls made it to and from school every day without incident.
We never ran out of quality disposable diapers, Sensodyne toothpaste, or anything else we hoarded from home.
My shoes held up.
Every fever went away without too much suffering.
Nothing was ever stolen (that we noticed).
No one was bitten by a snake or spider and a few worms in the feet were no big deal.
The termites never swarmed and carried our children away.
The vehicles always returned to their respective lanes before a head-on collision.
No one was lost in an angry mob.
We never got sick from all that “questionable” food.
That crazy Congo lightning never came through our window and zapped me in my bed.
Both of my pregnancies were picture perfect.
The electricity always came back on.
The water always returned.
The internet was always repaired.
The planes did not crash.
We made friends. Good, lifelong friends.
And no one is worse for the wear.
As infinitely grateful as we are for all these things that never happened, we’re even more so for everything that did. We had two beautiful children, our family learned a new language and we reached far out of our comfort zone. We will forever be connected to the culture and people we grew to love in Congo.
I hope that the next time everyday stressors take over, I’ll be able to stop and think about this list and remember more often than not everything is alright in the end.
What things have you worried about that never ended up happening?
Photo credits to the author.