I had a nightmare last night. I am always a little afraid of the dark, shadows in the closet, the shower curtain in the dark bathroom - but I can attribute all of that to watching Criminal Minds right before bed time! Last night was different, it was a real nightmare, and woke me up panting, shaking, and with a racing heart.
In my dream, I dropped my older kids off a mall daycare center sponsored by Nintendo Wii and then left them even though I had a bad feeling about the place. I was in an unfamiliar city - I think NYC - and got lost trying to get back to them. While running around, I got pulled into a work meeting and sat there for a while before remembering I was trying to get the kids, so I ran out and got lost some more trying to find this damn mall. I eventually found the mall and this guy stopped me to tell me my kids had started crying immediately after I left and how could I do that? I asked him to hold on while I went to get the kids, but I was too late. The place was dark. I could not find the stairs. So I was jumping around the mall screaming their names. And then I woke up and could not close my eyes for what seemed like ages.
I can rationalize the dream to understand where these scenarios came from - I worry about being a workaholic, I frequently find myself running late to the last minute, some lady said something to me about parenting at church - but the thing that is bothering me is the nightmare itself. No longer am I afraid of silly childish fears like the boogeyman under my bed or monsters in the closet. Now, my nightmares are the things of reality - am I protecting my kids? Do I make the right decisions? Can I keep them safe? I will try. I will do everything I can to be the best mother and caregiver they deserve. But, even the best parents lose children. Even the most vigilant mothers do not see the signs of abuse on their daughters. The most loving parents forget about the change of schedule and accidentally leave their child in the car. And that - that fear of what I do not know or what I can not stop - is what hits me like a lightening bolt.
The nightmare is over. My girls were safe and snuggly and all smiles this morning. They are happily off at daycare playing with friends and adoring their teachers. But me? I am here moving through the day, trying to shake off the residual fear. I want to live in each day, cherishing every moment. But sometimes, I want to fast forward 20 years and see my kids are all still here, still healthy, still happy.
Thanks for listening!