I’m running for my life. They’re chasing me and trying to get to my family, I have to save them and keep them safe. I have to get us out of here. I can almost feel the humidity in the air. I’m in some kind of factory, running across a metal scaffold holding my son in my arms. There are hands grabbing at me through the metal floor trying to pull me down. I trip, fall and he runs from my arms because he’s afraid. I watch as they grab him. I wake up. There’s an old saying that becoming a parent means having your heart walking around outside of your body. While that saying is true, the one thing that the “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” book doesn’t tell you is that how irrational you become once that kid is out in the world. The constant fear that will plague you.
I have nightmares.
I have nightmares that are more like night terrors on a regular basis. While I have five children, the vast majority of the time my nightmares center on my youngest child, Quinn. My subconscious is obsessed with him. I’ve watched Quinn (aka Kinny) die at least 100 times in my dreams. At this point you might wonder, is he ill? No, he’s perfectly fine (Thank God) but he’s always been slower at everything than his older twin. While doctor’s say he’s fine, I’m his mother and I worry. I worry so much it invades my dreams.
Sometimes my dreams are based in reality, like when Kinny fell off the top deck in my dreams and died. That was actual possible. Possible, until I baby proofed the deck to epic proportions. Following him around and helping him walk down the stairs, even though he was capable of doing it alone. Drowning in the pool, not so much. The pool was totally inaccessible to anyone under the age of 12. What’s not possible, death by zombies and all other manner of “end of the world” scenarios that my brain concocts.
It’s almost become a joke to me now, almost. I’m a fan of South Park so when I describe my dreams to people I always try to be funny and say, “They killed Kinny again”. Only, it’s not so funny when you wake up in the middle of the night, heart racing and the only way to calm it down is to get up and go check on the kids. The husband is used to this now. At first he used to argue with me, tell me they were fine, that Kinny was fine. Now, he just lets me go.
When they are sick, it gets worse. I worry that I misread something and gave them the wrong dose. I double-check and triple check them to make sure they are still breathing. My Husband will tell me, “If something is wrong we’ll hear it”. I don’t believe him because I know death is like that Carl Sandburg poem The Fog. Death comes in silently, taking you with it.
That’s a mother’s worst fear, losing her child. I guess I just have it worse because I’ve lost so much already that my brain is still processing it all. These are the things I tell myself to get through the day. To let him be a kid and not to hover like a deranged animal. To let him fall and get back up again.
I wish I wasn’t so anxious all the time. I wonder if my mother had those same fears when I was a kid. It would somehow make me feel better to know she did. Right now, I’ll just have to settle for finding kinship among the millions that travel the web everyday. Please tell me I’m not the only one to feel this way. That I’m not crazy or incredibly neurotic. Although, I think it’s quite possible I am.