Anxiety,  Parenting

Irish Courage: Traveling with Anxiety

Well, it’s nearly November, my friends. We are (hopefully, knock on wood) wrapping up a double-whammy of the flu and strep-throat with our five year old right now and it’s been seven days of non-stop fun (<– sarcasm font).  Ivy has pretty significant asthma, so whenever she gets any kind of respiratory illness/cold/flu/virus, we are on high alert.  Combine that with my every-day anxiety and this mama needs a drink.

Or eleven.

And all of the above is now happening about four days before Brian and I leave the country. Because the universe loves to paw at my anxiety like a kitten with a ball of yarn.

A few months ago, Brian and I had a few cocktails on a lazy Sunday (I swear I’m not an alcoholic) and I may or may not have booked a trip to Ireland when Brian dozed off for a very rare nap. When he woke an hour later, I sat grinning at him like a cheshire cat.


My face was freakishly similar to this when telling him.








Luckily, he was pleased. A little shocked, but pleased. I have realized that in order for us to do things like this, I just need to take control and tell him later. Otherwise, it will never happen due to his overabundance of responsibility and reasonable thought process.

Thank God we have my completely irresponsible, unreasonable mind to balance us out.

Oh, and I’m sure the fact that we will be seeing U2 in concert, my husband’s favorite band on earth, in their hometown of Dublin didn’t hurt my cause…

However, as quickly as I am to pull a spontaneous stunt like this, I clearly also quickly forget the dormant anxiety living underneath the plans.

I have been doing so great for the last few months regarding my anxiety and, as I wrote recently, I attribute that to my eating habits and censoring the things I watch or read. (Sorry, Dateline, it’s not you, it’s me.)  

But the closer the date gets to getting on that plane and now with Ivy’s added sickness, those nasty whispers of anxiety have crept in. Throughout the day… and as I lay in bed every night.

What if Ivy has an asthma attack while we are gone?

What if she doesn’t get over this flu at all?

What if our plane crashes? We should have booked two different flights, so one of us makes it out.

What if there is a terrorist on our plane?

What if there is a terrorist attack at the U2 concert?


To anyone who doesn’t suffer anxiety, these worries probably sound ridiculous.  And to those who think that, I envy you so much. I would give anything for the peace of mind you have.  Those above thoughts? They are just the tip of the iceberg. I refuse to even give breath or words to the ones that secretly haunt me.

I also having anxiety just writing this post, because I fear I will come back from this trip (or not) and these will be the “ironic” last words I wrote…

Yep, it’s that bad.

So, isn’t it funny that I’m the one who spontaneously makes plans like this?  My husband is the one who finds reasons enough to not make the plans – and I’m the one who makes the plans and thinks of a thousand reasons they will go wrong after.

So. What do we do, fellow anxiety sufferers?

I mean, the easy thing would be for someone to knock me out until I’m successfully in Ireland. And then knock me out again before the flight home. Oh, and to also have Ivy and Hannah wrapped in padding and not allowed to leave the house until we get back.

Unfortunately, no one seems to be on board with that plan.

The decided plan: I suck it up. (I know, “suck it up” to go to IRELAND… I’m such a jerk.)  I suck it up. I get on that plane. I enjoy every damn minute in that beautiful country, as I intended when I booked it. And, I come back and show our girls that overcoming our fears to experience the world is a life I want them to know – and have.

So… I’m coming for you, Ireland. With maybe a dash of liquid courage and some sedatives, but I’m coming for you.

May I drink just enough Guinness to give me courage – but not enough to incite an Irish accent and jig my way into an Irish prison.

(Though that would be an awesome story…)  





p.s. – For any potential burglars, please note that our home is alarmed, full of hidden cameras, being house-sat by a 300 lb. ex-WWE wrestler and is also surrounded by several armed and unstable neighbors.

p.p.s. – Some of the above may not be true.

p.p.p.s. – I dare you to gamble and find out which isn’t.


  • Vanna

    I am behind in reading your posts. The Emerald Isle and Bono? Fear not.
    I’m happy for you. I am happy for your husband that he found you or vice versa. Crazy world, it is very real. Sitting home in the basement hiding from crazy world won’t get you those experiences you crave. No worries. Ivy will be fine. Atleast you don’t worry about bread thighs and petty b.s.
    I hope you dance an Irish jig and see a leprechaun. Proud of you and the comfort zone abandonment (full throttle). Yes!

    • Jen

      Thank you so much, Vanna. You’re totally right – can’t hide from the world out of fear (though watching the news these days gives us enough reason…). That comfort zone is a hell of a trickster, right? Love and miss your face!!

  • Mary

    I feel your pain. About this time last year after a particularly long and painful week, my husband and I spontaneously booked a vacation for the first time in about 8 years (we may or may not have consumed a few alcoholic beverages). The next morning it was “what did we do?!” It turned into the best vacation we have ever had. I’m a “what if?” kind of gal myself and make up all kinds of stories in my head and then typically speak them out loud to my poor husband who then rolls his eyes and says “really?” to which I reply “it could happen…” He then replies “have you ever considered writing?” LOL. Someday I’ll have to share the story about a rogue ferret that I thought could potentially be living in the mattress in our guest bedroom 🙂

    • Jen

      Ok, the rogue ferret is hilarious – and also something I totally think could happen. haha! We are kindred spirits! I am so glad your vacation was the best!! Apparently, liquid courage is the way to book trips these days. 🙂 xoxo

  • Vanna

    Here comes the CORN….Brian said he’s going With or Without U!

    Such corn.🌽 Have a ball. ( and have balls) mml. (Make myself laugh) you goin green?I’m having healthy envy now. So fun. Thanks for the laughs and I’ll have to catch up on your others. I know you have balls ( not exactly) you booked the trip! YAY!! Proof your not remotely intimidated. Go go go…cheerleading for your wellness and path to IRELAND.

    💛 Truly
    Best Wishes
    SAFE & SOUND ✌

  • Cari Anhold

    Again Jen, this is totally me too! When you said how you fear saying it because it will be your “ironic” last words, I laughed because I always think this. Our minds are exhausting! I just “sucked it up” and went to Mexico and had a blast! Had to squash down a boatload of irrational fears for that!
    Thanks for making me feel less alone.

    • Jen

      Thank YOU for making me feel less alone! Isn’t it funny (sad) how our minds work? I’m so glad you went to Mexico and had a blast! Once you are there and settled, the worry dissolves, doesn’t it? xo

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