“Don’t Panic”

Posted: Monday, August 4th, 2008

I haven’t properly introduced my three year old.  To protect his “innocence” (ha!) I’ll call him Speed in these posts.  When my husband introduces our kids to people he calls our six year old “our son most likely to become a lawyer” and Speed “our son most likely to need one”. 

Getting Speed organized to get out of the house is almost always a huge and exhausting ordeal.  Yesterday was no different.  He couldn’t get dressed (every outfit I proposed was “not beautiful enough”), he couldn’t find the shoes he wanted (“the fast ones”) and worst of all he couldn’t find Spider Man (we never leave home without him). 

I was starting to lose it a little and finally puffed “Speed, if we don’t leave the house six minutes ago you’re going to be late for camp.  And I’m going to be late for work”!

He screeched to a halt from a dead run right in front of me, looked me in the eye, and calmly said, “Mom…Don’t Panic”.  

“Don’t Panic”? “DON’T PANIC”?!?!  How does a three year old come up with “Don’t panic”? And who is he to tell ME not to panic?  I’ll decide for myself whether or not to panic!

But then I thought about it.  Why was I panicking?  If he was six minutes late to “Camp Poliwog” what exactly was going to happen? 

I decided to try out Speed’s new approach to life throughout my day.  I freaked when I walked into the coffee shop and saw a mile long line.  “Don’t panic” I whispered to myself and felt my whole body lighten as I grabbed a spare copy of the paper and took a rare opportunity to connect with what’s happening in the world. 

I had an overwhelming meeting at work and started down the “what am I doing with my life?” path.  I caught myself and silently repeated “Don’t panic” a few times and the meeting seemed to magically turn right back around. 

Our bank called to say our accounts had been frozen because of “suspicious activity” (which turned out to be my husband doing two transactions in a row at a gas station…very suspicious huh?) and the only way to unfreeze our account would be for me to go into the bank with two forms of photo ID to prove my identity .  “Don’t panic” I muttered out loud as I felt myself about to lose my lid at the agent on the phone.

It kind of worked!  All day life’s hassles were….well, less of a hassle.  That little rascal has shaved years off my life in stressful moments and sleepless nights.  But today, he may just have added a few minutes back on.

What has your child said to you that made you stop and think – or even change the way you go through your day?  Add a comment to the conversation.   We’ll choose one commenter at random (on  August 26th) who will get to pick a treat from our Editorial staff’s ”treasure chest”.  (We have an office full of really cool toys, books, and gadgets).  Be sure your email address is either on the comment form or in the body of the comment so we can contact you if you win.

2 Responses to ““Don’t Panic””

  1. Sue Says:

    Your post really hit home. Speed has Spiderman…my now 17 year old had Barney. Poor old guy went everywhere with her through third grade. She wouldn’t leave home without him. When we were packing last month to move our household to Utah where she and her sister attend college there was a frantic search for the now one-armed and bald purple friend. We had to make sure that he (and Mr. Monkey her sister’s special buddy) were safely packed in a box big enough to not be lost. And while my girls never taught me much about not panicking (they were the champs) I did learn about the beauty of bugs from my baby who brought me everyone she found. Her big sister, who even as a little girl was able to understand the complexity and philosophy of life, taught me to listen to the whisper of an old soul. Sometimes I think our children have more important things to teach us than we have to teach them.

  2. Kat Says:

    I loved your bug story Sue. My boys are working REALLY hard to teach me the beauty of bugs. I’m not a fast learner but I’m trying! Kat

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