I don’t want to die.
It’s not that I just don’t want to, it’s that I can’t die.
I’m not on my death bed either, so this may be a little confusing.
But, you see, I have kids now.
And something that nobody tells you before you have kids, is that you will suddenly be filled with semi-irrational fears, like dying.
When I was younger, dying rarely crossed my mind, and when it did, it usually passed quickly. Of course, I didn’t want to die then, either, but it also wasn’t as big of a deal.
Yes, it would be a tragedy for my parents, friends and family, but that was it. I didn’t have little people depending on me- a new life that would be forever altered by my passing.
But dying now?
That’s just not an option.
Because, even on my bad days, when I feel like a failure as a mom, I know that I can never be replaced.
That’s the beauty of parenting- that, good or bad, I am uniquely my own, and uniquely theirs.
To think of dying, is to think of the domino effect that would be set into motion; a domino effect of heartbreak, change and grieving that would never go away. I have to stop myself from thinking too far into that paranoia, because it can quickly bring me to tears. The thought of dying makes me squeeze my kids tighter, love them better and be more patient.
But, no one tells you that before you have kids. No one warns you of the sudden paranoia that can set in when you see something on the news.
All of the sudden, this world is a scary place, and that child that was harmed, becomes your child; that mother that was shot, becomes yourself; and when you see a mother of a Sandy Hook victim sharing her story, you are grief-stricken for her.
Nobody tells you about how you will grieve for a child that you’ve never met, and how you just want to hug that mourning mama in another country.
How you will scroll past certain articles online because they hit too close to home.
How you can’t read certain books anymore.
How true-crime TV shows aren’t your favorite genre now.
How you just want to plug your ears when the reporter starts revealing specific details about a crime involving a child.
Maybe that’s the reason for the chaos that comes with parenthood? Our kids keep us so busy, and tired, and overwhelmed, so that we can stay on this side of our paranoia. So we won’t resort to stuffing them in a bubble and never letting them out of our sights.
And even though it breaks our heart to send them off into this world that is so scary, it’s also so beautiful to see them grow; to see their eyes light up when they’ve learned something new; to hear the excitement in their voice when they get to ride a school bus for the first time.
They reassure us, more than they know, that as scary as this world is, it’s also incredibly beautiful.
And, if, at the end of the day, I do die, I left the world more beautiful by bringing them into it.
Photo Credit: Misty Carter Photography