Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

I have a lot of things that keep me up at night. I call them the "Whatifs", based on a poem I read as a kid by Shel Silverstein.

I've tried reading, bubble baths, even a glass or wine (or two) to try and relax my mind away from the troubles of the past, my turmoils of the present, and my fears of the future. My fears of the future are usually my most dominating whatifs.

I remember the first year of the boys life, I would wake up several times a night in a cold sweat because I was dreaming that couldn't find one or more of the boys. These dreams were vivid, and I can remember Dan having to physical shake me to get me to snap away from the whatifs that had invaded my dreams.

While those nightmares have gone away for the most part, I now find myself laying awake most nights creating my own whatif poem -- except my poem doesn't rhyme and it is so dark that I am having trouble even thinking about it now as I write this.

My two biggest whatifs:
1) Whatif there is a fire and I need to get three 2 year old toddlers out of the house?

(My best solution to date is to get a really big duffel bag that could fit all three boys and attach it to a rock climbing rope with a carabiner -- I would then lower the boys out the window in the duffel bag and follow behind by repelling down the rope.)

2) Whatif one or more of my boys is kidnapped?

I have no solutions here. Yes, I know about all the "Stranger Danger" teachings and code words and friendly strangers. But that is for when the boys are older -- 2 year olds don't get what a code word is yet. And nothing strikes fear into the heart of a mother than when she cannot find one of her children.

In big crowds, Dan and I usually set up a system where one of us is on one side of the room and one of us is on the other side of the room. We communicate back and forth to each other by holding up the number of fingers of the boys we have in our sight.

We were recently at one of my multiples club's holiday parties. There were 39 families there with triplets or more ... the number of children totaled over 150.

About halfway through the party, Dan and I were doing our regular "sign language" to each other -- both of us held up only one finger. My heart dropped like a rock. Tanner was missing. It took only about 2 minutes before we found him pushing buttons by the AV equipment, but it felt like an eternity.

Of course, we were at a holiday party in a local church with friends, so Tanner was safe (unfortunately, I can't say the same for the AV equipment). But, I cannot imagine if that had happened at a store or a local playground.

I don't want to shelter my kids. I want them to explore, discover, observe, devise, pioneer, reveal!

But I want them to be safe. I guess I'm having trouble finding that balance.

Whatif sometimes you have to learn as you go ...

1 comment:

Nicole O'Dell said...

You're not alone with the whatifs, not that that makes it easier to deal with. Hang in there; you're doing a great job!