It was just over three years ago when I first experienced that horrible sinking feeling of fright as a parent.
Judson was about 14 months old and in his bedroom doing “alone time”, in what I believed to be a baby-proofed room. As I sat at our computer in the living room innocently checking my email, I suddenly heard a huge crash reverberate from the nursery and then piercing screams of pain echoing through our home. My heart dropped. I couldn’t jump fast enough from the couch to rescue my boy, all the while desperately afraid of what horrific scene I was about to behold.
As I raced down the hall I could see my boy pinned under a white free-standing shelf. Mortified and scared, I scurried over to rescue him and discovered there was blood streaming from the corner of his eye and it was beginning to swell.
I swept him up into my arms and he began to calm, but I was hysterical. My heartache and fears were running rampant as I cradled him, trying to figure out my next move.
About half an hour later my Jud Bud was protectively nestled in my arms in the Emergency Room at the hospital. Some of my worries were beginning to abate but I was heartbroken over Jud’s pain which was very apparent in his now black eye.
As we sat quietly together on the sterile gurney waiting for the doctor to arrive, I began pondering how this scenario would likely be one of many experiences of fright and heartache connected to my precious child; parenthood, as I imagined it, made one vulnerable to that sinking feeling again and again.
Little did I know that less than two years later that sinking feeling, tied to my love and protection of Jud, would actually manifest into a drowning experience and then cease altogether when my sweet man passed away. I now see that sinking feeling as a parental privilege connected to the care of living and active children. And strangely, I miss that I can no longer feel it with my beloved boy anymore; instead, I’m left completely submerged in the heartache dreaded by every parent when they have that sinking feeling.