Mother turns to stuffed-crust pizza for job security

Categorized as 12/07/09 Goshen News column

Why, oh, why can’t I have a boring, unimaginative mind? Some of you have got it made. You just take life as it comes. You don’t borrow trouble by worrying about stuff that never happens. You exist, by all appearances, in a bubble of peace and tranquility.

I, on the other hand, have been endowed with a vivid imagination. This is a hoot and a holler when I’m using it to tell stories around the campfire or when it helps me to see the funny side of life. It’s not such a blessing, though, when it turns on me and I’m drumming up all sorts of dire scenarios.

There’s no getting around it. When you have babies, your opportunities for worry just explode. From their early growth and development to their academic success to playground bullies, good friends, future careers, and spouses, there’s a lot to be concerned about. For instance, a previously stress-free trip to the grocery store becomes a minefield fraught with danger. Kidnappers, after all, are a real threat now.

If you have children that march cooperatively in a line like little ducks, it’s a breeze. If, however, yours dawdle behind to look at things (“I just wanted to see the candy bars”) or dart into clothes racks when your back is turned, it takes terror to a whole new level.

As Mr. Schrock’s children didn’t tend to “march in line like little ducks” when they were little, I have personally experienced this particular terror. I now know that at Wal-Mart, a Code Adam means that all employees are supposed to drop everything and look for a small boy in jeans and a Santa hat. I know the utter relief when the little wanderer was returned safe and sound, negating the doomsday plot that was already writing itself in my fertile brain, and he knows the unpleasantness of being in time out for three years.

Given my circumstances, it’s good that I don’t suffer from androphobia, which is the fear of men. I do, however, suffer from the fear of man smells, if you know what I mean.

Thanks to the sweaty socks and running clothes that land in my wash by the truckload, this is real to me. Donning a gown, mask, and gloves to sort the laundry may seem excessive to you, but it’s perfectly reasonable to me.

Alright, I’ll admit that banning spicy foods, such as burritos, and feeding them a bland diet of bananas and applesauce is also fear based, but hey. You have your defense mechanisms. I have mine.

Cheimaphobia, or the fear of cold, is one that I’m certainly familiar with. Hence the intensive lobbying for heated seats with peaceful marches, hand-lettered signs, and sporadic chanting when we were vehicle shopping this spring. I think it was the chocolate bars I showered Certain Person with that clinched the deal.

Thankfully, hodophobia no longer has me in its grip. This is the fear of road travel.

Back when we were first married, Mr. Schrock would morph into Dale, Jr., every time we headed south. Thus, long trips actually became triathlons. In other words, we got about three 30-second stops. We couldn’t have all those semis we’d just passed overtaking us, you know.

Bless him, “Dale, Jr.” is a far more relaxed traveler now. This is likely due to the four extra sets of kidneys we’re now hauling. Whatever the reason, I thank him. My kidneys do, too.

I wish the boys had a little more catapedaphobia, which is the fear of jumping from high places, and less ponophobia. That way, the twenty-story leaps from the maple tree onto the trampoline would be a moot point, and their fear of overworking and pain wouldn’t impair their ability to clean up their rooms. Is it wrong to pray down fear for certain things? I’m just asking.

They sure know what scoionophobia (fear of school) is. This is demonstrated with shouts of, “Go on past, prison bus! Go on past,” and clinging, white knuckled, to the door post while their father and I peel their fingers back one by one. To hear them tell it, all teachers carry a minor in torture next to their majors in math and English.

Depending on what happens on the bus, they experience intermittent bouts of nostophobia, or the fear of returning home. It really stinks when you have siblings that ride your bus and will gladly rat you out. They say there’s no honor among thieves, but there’s seemingly none among schoolboys, either.

We could use more hamartophobia around here, that’s for sure. The fear of sinning has kept many a little sinner on the straight and narrow. Or wait. Maybe it’s the fear of missing out on Mama’s homemade pizza that helps them walk in paths of righteousness. I say, you use whatever you’ve got.

So that’s my tool to combat my own personal phobia, which is the fear that one day I’ll be replaced in a parental version of Cash for Clunkers. That’s why I’ve got to keep the stuffed-crust pizzas coming. It’s called job security.

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