When you become a mom, I think you automatically become good at imagining worst cases scenarios. Husband is late coming home: definitely in a car accident. Forgot to double check whether you turned the straightening iron off: house definitely burned down.
Lucky for most of us, though, our worst fears never come to pass. Our active imaginations are just that. Imaginations.
So when my phone rang with a call at 7:03 on my way home from my run this morning and my husband's first words were, "Is John with you?" I realized that all of the other things I had feared in my imagination were nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the sheer panic and fear when faced with a question like that.
What do you mean he's not there? What do you mean he isn't in his room, the play room, the bonus room, the bathroom...
And I tried, immediately, I tried to think rationally. He's too little to have unhooked the chain locks on the doors... But he could've gone out the door to the garage that I left unlocked when I left.
Think rationally. His clothes were still on the dresser, so of course as soon as he got out in the cold in his pajamas, he would've come back in because it wouldn't have been fun anymore.
But simultaneously, as I tried to tell myself to think rationally, my stomach was lurching; my heart was racing; my mind was praying, begging him to just be in the house somewhere. The fear, the panic, the unfathomable idea that your child is gone - that is fear.
Of course, he was in the house. The law of unintended consequences: after a fun Saturday night playing hide and seek with the sitter combined with his typical "I don't want to go to school on Monday" attitude, he was in the linen closet waiting to be found. Thinking it funny not to answer Daddy.
We had a talk about that behavior, after I calmed down enough to do it. And then I hugged him. A lot. And his sister, too. I don't know what it would be like to lose a child, in any way. I'm just thankful and blessed that this morning, the only thing that happened was my imagination running away.