Last night was a nightmare night.
I was sleeping like a stone, but somehow the ghouls, they found me. Any parent knows what I’m talking about, too.
There is a murky horror that lives down in each of us, back behind our guts/hidden behind our thumping hearts. It’s the rare sort of fear that we get good at holding back after a while, more as a survival mechanism than anything, I guess.
There’s no other option really; if we let it, it would eat us alive.
But it surfaces at times, like the Loch Ness monster, rising up in a slow hail of dripping seaweed and dark water in the wake of something like the Colorado thing.
At least, that’s what happens with me.
It is the fear of something horrible happening to our children and it sucks. It sucks because, yeah, while it has one nasty claw sunk deep into our own set of worry warts, the other one is dug in deep down into the realm of absolute distinct possibility.
The details of my latest nightmare (I don’t have many, thank goodness) are not all that important to the discussion. Let’s just say I watched a bunch of news reports on this latest American genocide, and like a lot of people who did the same thing, they stuck in my craw. But, of course, my own midnight imagination allowed me to stick myself in that theater…with one of my own children.
And man, it’s almost too much to contend with, huh?
As human beings who also happen to be parents, we are not typically wired up for everyday worrying to the magnitude I experienced last night. On the contrary, we happen to be pretty damn good at being able to get on with our days and our humble duties without hitting the pause button when the worst possible scenarios come flickering across the flat-screens in our respective heads.
A life spent obsessing over the reality of children caught up in accidents or tragedies would be a life hardly worth living. Hell, it would be flat-out unlivable, to be honest. And someone, or something, out in the cosmos seems to have taken that into consideration when they mapping this whole thing out for us.
But, oh when the sparks of our deepest fears do manage to catch some wind…look out.
In the lake yesterday, I pulled my three-year-old daughter close to my chest and we bobbed out into the deeper water.
She was wearing her ‘magic coat’ since she doesn’t have the swimming thing down just yet, and although she absolutely loves the water and revels in our time in it, she also prefers to keep a real tight hold on daddy when we are out there in it.
So, as we laughed and giggled and spun around doing motorboat circles and mermaid jumps, I suddenly found myself overwhelmed as I watched her tiny feet maybe an inch below the surface of the vast cool lake.
My God, I thought to myself, she is so helpless here, right now, without me.
Like this whole crazy world at large, the lake is a pit of danger for my baby girl and if I wasn’t here (like I won’t be someday before long), how could I help her if she really needed me? How would I save her if she needed saving?
There is no answer to that, I know.
There is no solution at all.
You teach her to swim eventually and then you put your deepest most abiding faith in the hands of the Goddess of Fate & Fortune, who unfortunately, as the Aurora shootings reveal to us, does whatever she damn well pleases with whoever she wants. Including our kids.
It is beyond the realm of comprehension now for me to try and visualize what the families of the Colorado victims are feeling. Unless we’ve been there, we just can’t do it.
The parents of the slain, their lives are forever altered in the worst possible way. Parents who would gladly give their own lives to place their children back in this one are refused that option, no matter how bad they want it, no matter how much they stare and glare up at the nighttime sky and scream and beg and cry.
Their kids are gone. Little kids. Adult kids. It doesn’t even matter.
As moms and dads, we will always be doing our best to get through each day as pillars of strength and optimism and hope for the most important people in the world to us.
But at times like this, when the nightmares creep in and the pause button does get punched, I wish that I could just climb up onto a cloud and look down upon the whole damn Earth and spend the rest of eternity making sure that everything turns out okay for everyone forever.
I’d give anything to be able to do that. It’s a fools game, I know.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
Keep up with Babble.com on Facebook.
More from Serge: