My name is Gordon Davidescu, and I am a slowly recovering hypochondriac parent. It has taken me nearly sixteen months to get to this point but I realized that I was making good progress this last weekend when I was in Starbucks. Chaim Yosef was having a grand old time, flirting with the baristas as he tends to do when we go there and just walking around.
Seemingly out of the blue, he decided to change speeds to brisk run. At the same time, a gentleman entered the store and was walking toward a table when he (not seeing Chaim Yosef) bumped right into him just as Chaim came to a screeching stop. Down tumbled Chaim Yosef and immediately began one of the loudest cries that has ever been heard in a Starbucks coffee shop.
Let me pause here to tell you how I would have reacted had this sort of thing happened when he was six months old. Firstly, I would have been pretty impressed that he was walking that early. The first thing I would have done is to have jumped over and swept him up into my arms and cradled him into my chest and given him dozens of kisses.
I would have at the same time started imagining every single worst case scenario thing that could have happened to him for having this little fall. Would he have suffered a concussion? Would he have possibly gotten any infections from any scrapes that he could have gotten from the hard Starbucks floor? Should we call his pediatrician and ask for signs that we needed to rush him to the emergency room right away?It would take awhile but I would eventually be talked off the ledge, so to speak.
Back to the present. We picked him up off the ground and rubbed his back as he sobbed. The gentleman who bumped into him quickly started apologizing to Chaim Yosef but he was far too hysterical to care about apologies. We quickly found out that he was bleeding from where he had accidentally bit himself and we took care of the situation. A cup of water followed by half of a box of arsenic-free apple juice made him feel all better.
All it took was experience after experience after experience — and seeing how the terrible things I imagined happening weren’t happening — to go from hysterical hypochondriac father to the calm and collected father that I am today. Do I occasionally panic and think something terrible might have happened to my handsome little son? Of course I do. I am grateful it no longer happens just about every single day at some point, however.