I’ve spoken before about what an existential leap it is to drop my kids off in places and then drive off to another place and be away from them for about nine hours a day.
Actually, if I think about it too hard, the above sentence really screws with my brain.
So it doesn’t take much to kind of push the scale in favor of full blown anxiety attack when my kids are concerned.
Imagine my shock when I got the following email on my lunch break at work:
“Dear Parent: Please be advised that our school was in Lock Down Mode, as ordered by the local police due to an incident in the area. We were Lock Down for 30 minutes. The police assured us that the incident was resolved and we are back to normal.”
The email was time stamped about 90 minutes earlier than when I read it. Of course the last line indicated that everything was cool as Ice, Ice, Baby. But the first line of the email had already sent my adrenaline into full-blown-flood-of-piping-hot-lava-panic-mode.
As I tail spun through the office, alerting all my coworkers that I was in the midst of a neurotic episode (and probably alerting some of the incoming clients that maybe they wanted to rethink their choice of counseling agency because the staff here was cray-zee), my eyes filled with tears.
I longed to run out of the building and race to my baby boy, to hug him and validate that my worst fears had not come to pass.
Two of my coworkers hopped on the internet to see if they could find anything about what happened in my town. There was nothing on the news. I finally called the school (yeah, I get it; that should have been my first move, but when panic is in full swing, you don’t always make the logical choice first). The school secretary assured me that all was well.
I sat back in my office chair and did some deep breathing, trying to calm my racing heart and mind. As I did so, I checked my email again.
Up popped an update from my daughter’s preschool. It let me know that they were petting the chicks that hatched in their class’ incubator last week and that they were making nests in art.
And that, my dear friends, is motherhood: fluffy chicks and bomb threats.
It is a royal mind fuck, the likes of which I never could have predicted.
As a mom, you lose the right to wake up and know what to expect with your day. You can either get the downy, yellow, baby critters, or you can get the sheer terror of knowing everything you treasure and hold sacred can be squashed like a bug at a moment’s notice.
Sometimes you get both at once, and hardly know where to look or focus because it is all just so confusing and cute and horrifying and your heart is bursting.
As a working mom, sometimes I send my children off to school sick or sad. Sometimes I hug them with an annoyed huff because we have left the house late, or because they have forgotten something “important”.
Sometimes I leave them crying or cross with me. Sometimes I kiss them goodbye and give them nary a thought until I join them at home, many hours later, for the chaos that is dinner/homework/bath/tv/stories/bedtime.
And then there are days like this where I ache every second to be together with my babies again, so I can wrap my arms around them, nuzzle their fuzzy heads, and thank the stars we have all made it back to one another safe and sound.