Crazy worms are coming for us.

I know, I couldn’t sleep either after hearing that. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, and now, according to the Internet, aka my old friend fear, these highly invasive annelids were somehow migrating cross country, worming their way (quite literally) into our soil.

It was all too much. I’d spent the last year of my life, like much of the rest of the world, in a generalized state of anxiety and now these potentially self-procreating, slithering little sycophants were here to remind us that we couldn’t let our guard down, not just yet. I was quietly terrified, my skin crawling, my thoughts reeling, my Facebook feed suddenly being directed to a sale on fishing gear.

Fear’s a funny thing. I think I was maybe seven when we were visiting my grandparents in Budapest, (possibly the most exotic sentence I’ll ever write) and my uncle came home with a trout or some big fishy looking fish with big whiskers…okay, so maybe it was a catfish.  Anyway, he put it in the upstairs bathtub directly above the downstairs bathtub where I was coincidentally, well, taking a bath, and somewhere in my 7-year-old brain I became stubbornly convinced that said catfish indeed not only had the ability but the inclination to tunnel itself down the drain and into the tub where I was now screaming bloody murder for my mother to come and retrieve me.

Bloody murder screaming in our house currently is what stocked fish are to the Norwalk River in April and although my fears of tub-jumping killer catfish have long gone down the drain, with three kids, there’s no shortage of irrational fear or screaming.

Did you know leprechauns are absolutely terrifying creatures? I was not aware of this fact either until one St. Paddy’s Day (very early into my momming stint) I read that it might be “fun” to drop some green food coloring into the toilet and so ensued an entire six months of potty training regression and possibly lifelong aversion to Clever Tom the Leprechaun…boy, was I the lucky winner on that one.

How about the time circa the preschool years hubs thought it’d be swell to show S “Thriller.” Suddenly everyone was a werewolf or at least had the potential to go wolf, at any moment, without warning.

But there’s been nothing quite so thrilling as never being able to use the dustbuster again, like, ever, because, (and I can only imagine here) Junior is sure beyond a doubt that it will eat him. The state of our floors? Talk about fear-inducing. I’ll tell you, every time I look down and spot another wayward Cheerio or bobby pin, my mind reads like a Gillian Flynn novel.

Fear even accompanies good things. Now that we’re starting to relearn what people look like from the eyes down, in hindsight that definitely has its drawbacks. I for one got into a fantastic fight with my husband recently over my immediate and imperative desire for rhinoplasty at the age of 40. I would have been better off asking for a boob job. Fear is seeing myself on Zoom.

Fear is finding my Visa bill in the mailbox. Fear is the realization that at this rate, I will likely be retired before I start working. Waking up and finding that I’m down to my last Nespresso pod? That’s fear. Ten-day quarantines with the kids? Double fear. Thinking after almost a year and a half that I’ve finally, finally landed on some semblance of a nap schedule only to be reminded 14 minutes into attempt number 1,400 that I am very much not in charge of anything — that’s fear. And ask me,  I beg you, how scary it is to not let your 10-year-old win at cards. Cue the scream reel. Go fish. But remember the worms. You never know what your hook (or Facebook feed) might catch on. Now that’s what I call clickbait.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.