Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Mother's Fears

Venn Diagram
I have a routine with my prayers. First, I say the Lord’s Prayer. Next, I repeat my mantra request, “Please keep the children safe, healthy, happy and free from harm.” Lastly, I put in my special requests to the D.J. upstairs, closing out with an “Amen.”

Safe, healthy, happy and free from harm. That’s what I ask God to do for my children. It’s a mantra that has been the same for many years. It didn’t start right away when the first was born; rather, it evolved into its final form after several years of parenting. Likely, it came about as we encountered near tragedies (suburban style).

What kind of tragedies? A daughter wandering away at the shopping center when she was three. A first-born son, age three, running ahead of us on the sidewalk of Manchester, England, narrowly missing being run over by a car exiting a driveway. A daughter, unclothed and just two years old, wandering away from our house, exiting through the garage, crossing a street, entering the Waldorf school across the street, and walking the width of the campus to reach the playground. A youngest son barely into his second year starting to choke and requiring intervention.

Anyone who is a parent has had those moments, right? It’s not just me, alone in my encounters with heart-racing, hair-raising periods which, when looked at by someone with a disinterested eye, last mere moments, right? And when all is well and the moment has passed and our heart rate has slowed to its normal quick-paced parental resting state, we remain unable to put the moment behind us, right?

Ask me what scares me, and I will say that if you made a Venn diagram of my fears, you would see that the element “my children” falls into all of the overlap of the circles of fears. Deep inside me, deeper than I really like to probe, is a blackness so large it is near endless and bottomless. It is the blackness to which my mind retreats in those slow-motion moments of fear.

I love my husband. I love my mother. I love my sister. I love several people whom I consider great friends. But I do not fear for them. I do not fear for myself. I fear for my children. I am scared of what my children might face in the short term, in the near future, and long into a future where I will not be bodily present.

And so I plead with God at night. “Please keep the children safe, healthy, happy and free from harm. Amen.” It is a mantra I will say until the day I’m gone. It is a mantra that somehow frees me to sleep soundly and fearlessly.

[Submitted to the lovely
Scribbit’s October Write-away Contest.]

24 comments:

D... said...

Me too...me too

WorksForMom said...

Excellent post. I could read what you write all day. My prayers sound SO similar I swear the DJ upstairs might get us confused, my rendition:

"healthy, happy and safe from harm".

Freaky, eh?

Linda said...

Oh what a great post! So well said and I could feel what you were feeling right along with you. I don't think there is a parent out there who ever stops worrying and praying for their children. Which is as it should be.

Maria said...

Yup. The worst nightmares I have ever had are the ones where I have somehow lost Liv or she is hurt and crying and I can't find her.

Ugh. NO ONE sits just there in my heart the way that she does.

mitzh said...

All mother's have the same prayers and fears, I think.

You are truly something... (((hugs)))

mayberry said...

No, absolutely no, you're not the only one! I love your prayer.

WalksFarWoman said...

What a lovely discovery your blog is, you are one talented writer and expressive thinker.

I used to be such a worrier about my children but now they're grown - and I still worry! :)

Scribbit said...

We've had a string of friends of ours and family members who've become very sick and so it feels like the prayers lately are this huge long roll of people that need health and comfort. Seems like my prayers go on forever with all the people we know who need help lately!

TNMomof5 said...

Beautifully written. Yes, we all have those moments - and your prayer is the cry from every mother's heart.

Rebecca said...

Yes.

(I have nothing else to say... you've said it all better than I could, anyway.)

Gina said...

Great post.

Jeni said...

Very good post - and prayer too. I think perhaps it is an unspoken prayer every parent has, throughout each and every day, lying in the subconscious and springing to life periodically though.

My kids always said the "Now I lay me down to sleep" as did I from early childhood on, ending with the Lord's Prayer as I got older and knew it by heart. My daughter though changed a line in the "Lay me down" prayer for Miss Maya - and I don't remember the exact words now she substituted but it was for the "If I should die before I wake" as she felt that might be to fearful to teach to our little Princess Maya here.

And yes, I do believe we've all experienced some really harrowing events over time with raising kids! The "heart in mouth" syndrome till you get there and things get squared away.

Peace - and keep those little ones -no matter how big they become - safe!

Alpha DogMa said...

On Tuesday, I lost my three year old for less than 60 seconds. Scary. So I know of what you speak/type.

tegdirb92 said...

yep, we all have those moments we will never forget. Great post--it forced me to consider all of the blessing that I have and pray that there are less and less of those hair standing moments.

Iota said...

You put it perfectly.

Have you heard this one? To have a child is to have your heart walk around outside your body for the rest of your life.

Not quite the same idea, but similar.

bubandpie said...

What a lovely prayer. My prayer for my children (from utero) has been even shorter: that they reach their potential, whatever that might be.

Bubba's Sis said...

I pray this every night, myself. And also that I not outlive my children, but that I live long enough to see them grow up.

A great post, Patois!

susiej said...

I utterly love this -- as this is what it's like for Moms. I have often pondered about how much my prayers have evolved over the years. I should have written them down, as a keepsake to pass on to my children. So show how my prayers have changed, as evidence of my life changes. This is profound.

I'm quite puzzled by the winners of the scary contest.

Robin said...

While my greatest fears are for my children, they are also the place I won't let my mind dwell. The fears I let myself actually contemplate are more my own and my husband's. The thought of something truly awful happening to my children is just too much. I can't go there.

chichimama said...

Yep. Fabulously said. An adding my prayers to yours...

Josie Two Shoes said...

How well I know this mantra, Patty. There is not a day I don't plead with God to just keep my daughter alive!

Betty C. said...

Congrats on this being named a perfect post! Too bad the blogger called you "Patios" though. And BTW, why is your pseudonym "Patois?" Any French background going on there?

Leslie said...

I came by way of SusieJ. I agree, this is deserving of the Perfect Post Award. I pray the same thing - keep them happy, healthy and safe. Everyday. Excellent post. It certainly rings true with me.

Jenn in Holland said...

So well said. Susie is absolutely correct, this post is perfect.

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