Kinder Than is Necessary


“Kinder than is necessary.” I’ll admit it, I stole that quote. I downright stole it from one of my favorite books, Wonder. Man, is it true. I am going to tell you a little bit about my weekend and the few days that followed.

Anxiety Is One of My Demons

The first thing you should know about me is that anxiety is one of my demons. I don’t know where this started. I think it manifested itself at some point when I was in the depths of a toxic relationship. It never seemed to completely go away. I’ve always felt guilty about this. How can I be anxious AND have faith? Then, my best friend (and soul sister) sent me this quote by C.S. Lewis:

“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ.”

Wow. Hi, I’m Haley, and a quote has never resonated with me as much as that one. I go through a lot alone. I keep it all locked up in my mind where it feels safe, and I don’t have to talk about it. That is exactly how this weekend started.

Downhill After the Dermatologist

Dermatology appointments have always made me nervous, so I scheduled my appointment early in the day (to get it over with). While I was nervous about this appointment, I was no more nervous this time than any other. I walked in, chipper after coffee, ready to get going.

They called me back and ran through their script, professional as ever. Soon enough, I was in the gown ready to be examined. My dermatologist came in, said everything looked good, but . . . oh wait! What’s this? Oh, this has to come off.

I’m still breathing, y’all. I haven’t panicked. Then, she tells me, “We’re going to take this. I’m concerned it may be melanoma.”

Trying to Be a Big Girl

Like I said, anxiety is a big issue for me. I told three people about the possible melanoma: my husband, my mom, and my best friend Sara Beth. I could not bear to tell anyone else. What if they ask me if I have heard back yet?

Friday night came. We had friends over. We did sweet things like bake sugar cookies with our kids. I smiled. But the only thing I could think about was my fear. Then Saturday came. Luckily, this day was spent with my friend who knew. I felt more relaxed but still anxious. Breathe in, breathe out.

When Being a Mom Takes Priority

I noticed my little guy seemed off Saturday night. Sure enough, after not eating much of his dinner, I checked his temperature. It was approaching 102 degrees. He had no other symptoms, and his teacher told me another child in his class had a fever virus. I simply assumed it was such.
During the night Sunday and into Monday morning, things took a turn. He woke up, and I felt like his breathing was extremely labored. I was a mess. I’m typically already on high alert, but now I panicked to my husband, “C.J., let’s get to Children’s!” In typical C.J. fashion, he told me to calm down.
Somehow, I went into work. My husband works from home, so his schedule is a lot more accommodating than mine as a teacher. I knew in the back of my mind that if I had a worried look on my face, I could just tell people my baby was sick. It felt like another layer to hide my anxiety.
It turns out, he had croup. I felt like croup was the best turn out of all of the ones I had considered, so I was “relieved”.

Monday Night (I Need a Re-do, Please)

If you fancy shaming other moms, please don’t read on. Just click that little “x” in the top right corner.
While I cooked dinner, my little one was standing on a barstool. I am ashamed to say, he does this a lot. He loves to “cook with us.” I always felt okay with it because one of us was always nearby. This night was no different.
I turned around to get him more milk out of the fridge. Right after I turned my back, I heard a tumble. It didn’t help that I also heard my husband gasp. I turned around and our little one was lying on the hardwood floor screaming. 
I rushed to pick him up and held him for a few minutes. Everything looked okay, but then he said, “Mouth.” He put his hand up to his mouth, and when he removed it, tiny bits of his tooth came with it.
I hope this doesn’t sound silly to you. My husband asked why I was in hysterics about a baby tooth. I told him, through tears, “If it were a bruise or a scrape, it would go away. Now, every time I look at him, I will remember that I wasn’t right beside him!” It was a rough night.

Tuesday — Praise God for Tuesday

I asked the dermatologist to call my husband with my results. I did this simply because I cannot answer my phone during the day. Since I have a classroom full of kindergartners, I can’t exactly ask them to pause for me to receive this news. My anxiety hit a peak on Tuesday. I remember having to remind myself to breathe. My brain was going something like, “And what sound does this (*breathe, Haley, breathe*) letter make?”
I got the text around lunchtime. It was benign!!! I tried really hard not to cry tears of joy. I quietly told one of my teammates what was going on, and she hugged me with sheer joy. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.

The Moral of the Story

I am okay. My little one is okay. I may feel like a crappy mother (I know I’m not), but I am alive to see that chipped tooth! This was a stressful week, to say the least. But . . . it taught me something.

I felt the weight of all that I carried alone. I physically felt it in my shoulders by the time Tuesday came. It made me wonder, if I carried this so silently, what are other people carrying? I am realistic enough to know that my story of this weekend and week is NOTHING compared to the story of some people.

What are you carrying? It is my hope and prayer that your family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are kinder than necessary to you. Spread a little love. There’s not enough, and we all need it.

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Haley was born and raised right here in Birmingham, and feels blessed to call it home. She is a Christian, wife to her husband CJ, and mama to a 22-month old little boy, Whitt. Haley went to college at Lipscomb University in Nashville, and then moved back home to pursue her Master’s Degree at UAB. She is a kindergarten teacher - and even teaches at the same school she attended as a child! When Haley is not teaching, she is chasing around her very active toddler, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, reading, or cheering on the Tide. Haley is so excited to be a part of this amazing group of women!