Dear Jo: The Monsters that Scare You Most

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July 11, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Today you finally captured it on video. You had been trying since Lyla’s well-child check-up a few days ago. As soon as you’d see Emerson pause and the distant stare take over, you’d reach for your phone and hit the record button. But you never quite caught it. By the time you would start filming, the moment of spacing out would end and Emerson would go about his business. It was like trying to film a Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster, always elusive and perhaps not even existent. Until today.

Dear Jo: The Monsters that Scare You Most

You met Emily at the park. You even had time to stop by the cafe first and grab coffee for both of you. You hate to admit it, but the last two nights have been some of the best sleep you’ve had in years. Lyla just started falling asleep unassisted, but already she has been sleeping longer stretches through the night. Perhaps you should write Dr. Warner a thank-you note or bake him some cookies.

Unfortunately Luke has not been having such great sleep. Emily has been up with him multiple times in the night and then he has been nursing throughout the day. Maybe it’s a growth spurt. Isn’t that the answer any parent gives when they can’t figure out why their baby suddenly changes?

You sat on the bench together, holding babies and sipping coffees as Emerson and Joel ran around the playground. The good part of having early risers is that you get to the park before most of the other families have even changed out of their pajamas and started their days.

“Mommy, watch this!” Emerson shouted from the top of the double slide. “Take a video!”

Emerson and Joel sat down at the top of the slide, side-by-side and grabbed hands. You stood from the bench and walked towards them. Once you got them in frame and focused, you said, “Ready. Set. Go!”

The two pushed off and slid down together. As their feet touched the bottom, they stood and cheered. And then Emerson stopped. Joel let go of Emerson’s hand and continued jumping and celebrating. Emerson stood still, staring into nothingness for a moment before shaking his head and returning to the celebration. Joel didn’t even notice his friend’s absence. Once Emerson recovered, they ran off together, ducking under bridges and climbing up a rope ladder.

You stood at the base of the slide, your finger hovering over the video. You knew you should check it to make sure you actually captured it. But you had just caught the live show and  you didn’t really want to see the replay. Despite yourself, you hit the play button and watched.

There at the top of the slide were the cheers and the laughs. Together they went down. Together they jumped up. And then alone he stood. You hit pause and turned off your phone. You had finally caught the Big Foot you’d been trying for, but it didn’t come with a sense of accomplishment.

That night, as Paul put the kids to bed, you watched it again. And again. And again. Each time you felt a sense of hate rising up…a hate towards something yet to be named, diagnosed or understood. Yet, there it was: this feeling of disdain for some elusive force that had ahold of your son.

Sometimes the monsters that scare you the most are the ones lurking in the unknown.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


 

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Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©Photokanok_1984 – Fotolia.com.}

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