People say this is how it happens, but I never thought it would happen to me. My life changed in the blink of an unblinking eye! I went from being a loving mom to a suspect in a crime.
More special than other days, last Friday held big meaning as I’d be reuniting with my kids! After days of grandparent spoiling, they couldn’t wait for Lauren’s weekend-long birthday celebration! I drove as quickly as I could obeying all laws and speed limits. I parked my car, leaped from the driver’s seat, and ran around the back, arms outstretched to capture both kids at once! I heard a high pitched shriek – was it my daughter eager to greet me, or my own voice screaming in horror as I coiled back from what appeared before my son?
My son stood, beaming, clenching a little clear plastic box with a shimmery flicker reflecting sunlight from within. He stepped forward, “Mom, meet Paul and PJ (Paul Jr.)!” Goldfish – only they weren’t gold, they were black, tarnished goldfish. I held back every negative emotion and memory and got close enough to the fish to kiss my kids quickly on the cheeks.
Immediately, the voices outside my head got jumbled, “Threw balls,” signals crossed, “Colored Water,” and over-lapped, “Hit a bump!” They got more urgent, “…Big splash,” louder “On rug flipping out!” and angrier, “My new car!”
“Aaah!” I yelled! “Carefully put the fish in our car, make sure the lid is tight so they can’t escape and don’t knock them over when you close the door!”
As we put the distance of the parking lot between us and the Pauls, my knot of anxiety loosened. I talked my daughter onto the circular swing ride 301 feet up – only to have her shoving “Rock On!” fingers into the air after the first rotation while my fingers gripped her so tightly leaving marks.
That ride put it in perspective for me that at 42, I could barely rationalize my fear of heights, but I could not rationalize my fear of fish, so I decided to try to work through my fear. Things didn’t go as swimmingly as hoped…