Oh god. I just had a silent mini-panic attack and fled my parents' house.
We were all gathered there to spend time with my nephew. Another brother flew in from California last night to be supportive and spend a few days with us. He is staying with my parents and my nephew's family's house is fairly small so it made the most sense for everyone to gather there.
What's stupid is that it was mostly a really nice day. Nephew is doing well, and it is nice to spend time with my brother and his wife and get to know Teenage Nieces a little better. The panic didn't set in until the last two hours or so.
The root of the panic likely lies in the simple fact that it was day two of "sitting around all day and trying not to think about Nephew's potential cancer." I do not do well without activities.
The intensification of the panic came from the pairing of "nephew-cancer panic" with "parent money panic," which is an old and well-known panic that lies just below the surface of my being.
This fun pairing of panics began when my brothers and nieces all started trying to convince my step-dad that he should get an iPhone or iPod or MP3 player. You know, my step-dad who does not HAVE A JOB and who is BAD ABOUT SPENDING MONEY HE DOESN'T HAVE. I had a really hard time not screaming at everyone to SHUT UP or saying something to my step-dad that would have hurt his pride.
I think I could have recovered, but after Nephew's family went home the conversation turned to my parents' year-long battle to get the house loan re-modified After a few minutes I realized that my stomach was clenched, my shoulders were arched, and I couldn't sit still in my seat. I wanted to stay and hang out with my brother but I had to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. So I did. I made up an excuse about the roads getting icy (although I didn't really make that up as I was worried about that) and left as quickly as I could.
Now I am home. Drinking a beer, writing this, and waiting for my shoulders to relax.