Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Scream Heard 'Round the World

Last night, my mom let out a blood-curdling scream from her room. I knew my daughter was up there with her, and as I ran up the stairs in a blind panic I just knew that the time had finally arrived.

My daughter was injured, dead, or dying. All the panicky, paranoid fears I have had, had come to fruition.

The world absolutely stopped.

The five second span of time it took me to dash out of the kitchen and up the stairs was enough time for me to play out every single disastrous and fatal scenario that haunts my darkest nights. The palpable fear of losing one of my children.

I could taste it in my mouth.

I am sure we will laugh about it one day. Not soon, but some day. LittleBird had opened up a bottle of dark maroon nail polish and inadvertently cast its contents in a sweeping path on my parent's new carpet. A perfectly reasonable event for my mother to scream like a banshee. I would have done the same.

How this played out left me with several important things to ponder.

If I had done this as a child, I would have had the wooden spoon on my butt so fast and gotten the spanking of a lifetime. I would have been yelled at. Berated. My mom never yelled. She never scolded my daughter. LittleBird was absolutely terrified because she knew that she had done something awful. My mom told me to go comfort her because she did not understand what she had done. And when I brought my daughter back into the room, my mother told her that she knew it was an accident, and that everything was going to be okay.

When I put my sweet child to bed that night, she looked at me and said I made a very bad choice, but Gramma still loves me.

It wasn't a question, but a statement. It made me feel good to know that she understood that even when she does something wrong, she was still loved.

I am proud of my mom for not flipping out. As I said, this would not have been the case thirty years ago. I am proud of my mom for having grown as a person.

As for me, the question remains When will the fear stop? When will that visceral fear of losing my children disappear? At every stage of their development, there is new danger. From the choking on food, to running into the street, to kidnapping, to mobbing at school, to driving in a car with friends. The list is never-ending, and a person could go mad thinking about it all.

I aged a lot this weekend. Those five seconds of pure terror took five years of my life away. I am just grateful that my daughter is alive, well and no worse for the wear. Truth be told, I pray every night that I will not hear that scream again.

12 comments:

buddha_girl said...

The fear will never stop. Ever.

The fact that your mom reacted so well, as did Little Bird, is a testment to how YOU'VE done in life as a daughter and mom.

You rock, woman.

Molly's Mom said...

I totally know where you're coming from with the wooden spoon to the behind. My mom would've done the same thing back then, but now? No way. She's actually told me (in a roundabout way) that she feels bad for spanking us. Amazing, the transformation.

Momma said...

The world changed, and your mom changed with it. That's a good thing :-)

I'm glad your daughter is okay, but I am with buddha girl on this. The fear *never* goes away. Ever. It does change, though. My fears have changed over the years, but as you well know, my daughter is very ill. It is something I wish I could take away from her, but I can't. She has had to go through things I tried to protect her from, but it's the hand she was dealt. She is working out her own karma.

I hope that you never have to hear that scream again. I hope your daughter lives a very protected and charmed life, truly I do. The alternative is a lot of pain for both mother and daughter. {{{{hugs}}}}

Peace - D

Betsey Booms said...

It never leaves honey. Ever.

I've lived that moment myself, many times.

The nail polish on the carpet?? Crazy! I would have flipped.

Chris in Oxford said...

They change a lot when they become grandparents, don't they. My mom is nearly sane when dealing with her grandkids, something she certainly wasn't with us...

Andrea said...

According to my mom, whom I was just talking to this afternoon about this very subject, the answer is...

Never.

I can still jump-start her heart by calling at a strange time or not answering my phone for a couple of days (or a couple of hours).

Military Mom said...

"Sergeant XXXX, this is the school. Teenager is gonna be ok, but....." Yeah. I flipped out. I know that heartstopping moment, and I'm sorry you had to hear it. Luckily, the car that hit him only broke his bike, and not his bones. It never goes away, sorry to say. But the carpet thing? I can relate! My parents are SO much more mellow with the grandkids than they were with us!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

OK, first? I'm going upstairs right now and put away my nail polish, out of reach.

Second? I'm always fearful. Always. Probably until the day I die, I'll be fearful, even when they're grown.

I'm here with you, hon.

Amy said...

It never ends. I think it gets easier from about age 5-11, then they are pre-teens then teens then college students and it gets progressively worse in those ages because the stakes are higher and you have less and less control. My oldest is 19 and every time my phone rings and it's her I pray "let her sound happy and fine, please God!"

Kat said...

Goodgowd, woman, just your description of running up the stairs to see who was dead had my heart racing. Sheesh.

I don't know when or if that fear ever subsides.

courtneyryan369 said...

Kuddos to your mom for reacting as she did. Its important for kids to know they're loved even when they make mistakes...

And according to my mom the fear never leaves. Some days are just better than others.

Nicole said...

Wow...my heart stopped when I was reading this!

I hope you never have to hear that scream again either. And love to your mom for growing. It seems my mom has grown after things like this too (though my memories of the events where I'd get the yard stick to my butt aren't dull enough to be ok with it yet)