The person who first said, “scared to death” about anything must have been a mother, because, frankly, my daughter gives me a metaphorical heart attack everyday. She’s a ticking time bomb with each and every step, bite, fall or even breath.
When she’s strapped into her car seat, it’s like I’m a race car driver, except I’m not trying to protect myself. I’m attached to another, like Siamese twins. I’m trying to make sure the car rolls in the right way, if it’s going to flip. I’m circling round and round, trying to catch the lead in front of a sea of rookies. You better not get too close or my pop-out, knife hubcaps will slice you like you’re Grease Lightening. But, I’m the good guy who gets the girl…my little girl. Terrified, but full of precision.
When she’s on the playground, it’s like I’m a lion tamer, a trapeze swinger, a firefighter and a paramedic all rolled into one. When she stands on the slide and swings at the top, nearly flying over the edge from a slight callus on her hand, I’m the firefighter waiting to catch the kitten when it falls from the tree. Terrified, but stronger than Sampson.
When she’s riding the swings so high that the sun blinds me, I’m a trapeze swinger ready to grab her when she leaps from the base. I may be blinded by the sunlight, but my hands can read her, like she’s Babyface braille. Terrified, but with better senses than Helen Keller.
When someone confronts her or steals her sand toys, I’m a lion tamer. I grab my verbal whip, with a tactful tip, and have a chat with the cub’s lioness or draw her to safety by teaching her how to keep things civil and work her way out of his/her claws. I teach her to fight her own battles or to prance away with pride. Terrified, but more ferocious than Mufasa.
When she trips, falls or gets whipped by a swing, I swoop her up like a paramedic and provide her with cartoon Band-Aids, antibacterial ointment and security. I drive her to safety and feed her a Popsicle to sooth her nerves. Terrified, but more resourceful than Rescue 911.
When she’s stuffing her mouth with food, only thinking of the toy, book or imaginary friend she wants to get back to, I’m a psychotherapist ready to use shock therapy (bribery, which is a last resort), if my words fail me. I tell her to chew her food because she’ll have to sit up longer and not run around or jump up ‘n’ down until it’s digested. The less she chews, the longer she’ll have to wait. Terrified, but more manipulative than Hannibal Lector.
When she suffers a high fever or unexpected illness that’s greater than a cold, a scratch or indigestion, I am a 19th century nurse. I hold my hand to her head to check her temperature, never considering that my own may offset hers. I am a mother, so I know her natural body temperature. I feed her chicken soup and hold a cold cloth to her head as she fades in and out of slumber. Terrified, but more heroic than Florence Nightingale.
When she stands at the top of the stairs, tired and leaning over the edge of the top step, I am a negotiator. I tell her to step away from the ledge. I tell her that using the potty after she wakes isn’t painful enough to keep her from walking down (while holding the railing). I hold my breath until she’s only a few steps above me. Terrified, but more convincing than Samuel L. Jackson.
So, basically, I’m scared all of the time. I live on the edge. I do my best to keep my neuroses in check. And, I’m a superhuman hero. Basically, I’m a mother and wine is my mojo.