Several weeks ago, my husband got it into his head that the two of us needed to unwind and reconnect. He chose a film, popped some popcorn, rocked the baby to sleep, and PRESTO! it was date night.
That doomsday end-of-the-world piece of crap movie scared me shitless and now, in the quiet moments of the night, something horrible happens. I imagine my daughter. Dead.
I cannot rid my mind of the nightmares. They wake me every night. Twice. Three times. Sometimes they come in waves, four or five in the span of an hour. And I cannot silence them, I cannot banish them, so I wake up terrified, haunted by my greatest fear. It takes every bit of self-control I have not to let the scream in my lungs erupt into the room, every bit of strength I have not to shatter the calm where my family sleeps.
The nightmares are never the same. A cataclysmic meteor strikes the planet and we are consumed in the aftermath. A blizzard and we freeze together in our car. A flash flood and we drown. A toxic gas is released into our home and we suffocate while we nap.
A murderer breaks into our house and I cannot protect her. A sun flare envelops the Earth and I cannot stop it. A devastating plague rips apart countries and I cannot quarantine her. A fire burns our home and I cannot run away fast enough. A truck rams into our car on the road and I cannot maneuver out of the way.
I die in the nightmares too, but that never bothers me. Let me hang or burn or freeze or be shot. Let a tidal wave overwhelm me, let a beast tear me from limb to limb, let a trash compactor crush my bones.
But do not take my child.
Every night, I crawl into bed, kiss my little girl, and close my eyes. And what bothers me is that I know that in a matter of hours, I will wake up frightened and distraught and on the brink of tears because I could not save her.
The only up side to the nightmares is that I have learned a valuable lesson from them. Next time my husband suggests we snuggle on the couch and watch a film? I’m picking it out.
Thankfully alive and well. And cooing and smiling and giggling =)