June 23, 2013: Fear

An ordinary moment in time last night
A friend's daughter was seriously injured in an accident last night. As I pray for her recovery, my heart fills with sadness for her parents. The call that every parent dreads. My biggest fear.

My morning started with a five minute panic attack in trying to locate my seventeen year-old. For that five minute span, I tried to remain calm and not think about him in a ditch. He called. All was well in the world. My brief fear turned into an afterthought. Based on the news headlines of the morning, many other parents weren't as lucky.

No matter the age, the worry doesn't go away. From checking on them as babies to make sure they are still breathing  to worries on their decision making Friday nights at the frat house, the worry is there. With every blaring ambulance and fire siren, I say a prayer. I think of my kids and hope that it wasn't intended for them.

My biggest panic attacks to date revolve around the well-being of my kids. I vividly remember the panic of losing a child in a crowd. Those three minutes of terror thinking about the what-if's until my precocious toddler was located. A hit to the head that resulted in a short bit of unconsciousness. The phone ringing in the middle of the night. Fear.

When Grant was eight on a family vacation in Okoboji, there was a span of fifteen minutes that created pure panic and anxiety. With every minute, the panic grew like an explosion inside me. It was probably the most scared I have been during my lifetime.

The sun had set on Lake Okoboji and it was our last night in our lakeside townhouse. That night as I visited with friends and watched our collective kids settle down, I noticed we were short Grant. I quickly figured out that no one in the room had seen him for some time. Panic.

I ran out to the bonfire. No Grant. No one had seen him. I looked out to the boat dock on that windy night and saw our boat rocking in the waves as it hit the dock. I thought of Grant's superhero guys he left on the boat. My heart sunk as I pictured Grant in the dark trying to get into the boat to retrieve his guys. It was pitch dark; impossible to see a little boy fallen in the turbulent waters. The ripping waves too loud to hear a scream of a fallen child.

After calling for help and beginning my panicked search off the dock, a mom shouted out to me that Grant was in her room. Little Grant had befriended most everyone as many of our annual "weeks" corresponded with other families. It was pure joy to see his smiling face, safe in their room.

Some tell me this fear for my kids will never go away. Love them each and every day. Everything else is in God's hands. So I will pray; for the children lost too soon and those still living. Love your kids. Teach your kids. Guide your kids. Everything else is out of our hands.

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