Triggers

"Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” – Arthur Somers Roche

One of the many plusses of my new neighborhood is the abundunce of children on the street. In my old hood (located out in horse country of the CT hills) there were children but they were acre lots or more apart from each other. Siblings tended to play with siblings and rarely did the children venture out of their wooded lots to find more children. Those with bikes and mothers bold enough to let them go, could travel to and fro those large lots for playtime.

On the new street, you can walk to many children. You hear them in the street laughing. You see them cut through your yard as they run towards the path that cuts over to the local playground.

My sons have been in heaven and they have only spent one day there. The day we moved in, there was a knocking from the second floor of the home next door. I looked up and saw a young boy furiously waving with glee. My youngest son waved back. We later learned the boys name is Alex.

Yesterday afternoon, five children appeared on our front porch simply to introduce themselves. I thought my oldest sons head might explode with glee. Both boys ran to find their sneakers and hopped up and down asking me if they could go outside and play.

I agreed but told them they could only go as far up the street (its a long block) as Tylers house and if they went anywhere else they had to come back and tell me.

I busied myself in the living room as they left. I watched them walk up the street. Within a few minutes, my youngest son appears on the porch and tells me that he raced his brother back. I look out the window and see my oldest a few yards from the house.

I continue unpacking, expecting my oldest son to walk in the door.

He didn’t.

I continued doing what I was doing until my youngest says "Where is Nik?".

Again I look towards the sidewalk and this time I don’t see my son.

I scan the porch.

He is not there.

I look to the driveway, the backyard, the back porch.

He is not there.

I walk out onto the sidewalk and look up, then down, the block.

He is not there.

I become worried.

I grab the coat of my youngest child and he and I set off to find his brother. We walk to Tylers house.

He is not there.

I walk to the school yard.

He is not there.

I am calling his name and he is not answering.

My youngest continues to babble "Where is Nik?". He is sighing loudly with six year old exasperation at his missing brother.

I want to tell him to shut up. I want to tell him to be quiet, hold my hand and be a good boy, Mommy is scared.

I dont.

I just keep walking and pulling him along behind me.

I am looking in yards of people I dont even know.

My mind begins to run away with me.

Is he hurt?

Did he get lost? It is a new neighborhood. Maybe he took a wrong turn?

Did he get hit by a car?

Did someone…take him? Kidnap him? My mother-in-law always said he was too handsome and too friendly. "Pedophile fodder" she used to call him.

I return back to the house and check all the rooms a second time.

He is not there.

He has now been gone for 45 minutes.

I lose it.

I call my ex-husband in tears. He leaves his office immediately and tells me to keep looking.

I ponder calling the police.

I call my landlord (mother of Tyler that lives up the street) and leave a frantic message.

My youngest continues to babble.

I am hyperventilating. I want to scream and collapse. I cannot see straight. I dont know where to look. Where to turn? Up the street? Down the street? To the playground? I am trying to keep my wits about me but I am having a hard time. I can barely stand.

I cannot lose another child. I have barely survived the loss of my first.

Please, Gods I dont believe in, dont do this to me.

I decide to walk further up the block. Dragging my youngest behind me (still babbling but now growing a bit more concerned), I march with sunglasses on. Even though the sun has nearly set, I dont want my son to see the tears that stream from my face.

I hear the voices of children.

I cross the street.

I walk down a long driveway and see my oldest son playing ball with three children.

He sees me.

"Oh, yeah, I was just about to come home. I figured it was about time" he says meekly.

"Yeah, you had better get home NOW" I demand.

He realizes by the tone of my voice something is very wrong. So do the other children.

"Nik, are you in trouble?" one of them asks

"Yeah, I think so" he responds "See you guys later"

I pull him towards me as we walk down the street and I start to cry. I tell him he scared me. I tell him its a new neighborhood. I remind him of the rules. I tell him I called his father. I tell him I nearly called the police.

He starts to cry.

"I am sorry Mom. I did not mean to upset you" he says.

I cannot stop crying. With my oldest son on my left and my youngest on my right, I wander back to our new home. I send my youngest into watch television and I collapse on the porch with my oldest. He is sobbing.

I try to comfort him. I try to explain what I felt and how scared I was. He leans into me and crys on my thigh.

"I am sorry Mom. I am just so sorry. I was just playing with new friends. I really am sorry." he says again through a veil of tears.

"I am too." I say to him.

What I dont tell him is that I am sorry because I am sure I overreacted. I am sure I went from mildly worried to a messy lunatic wreck much quicker than other moms would have. But you see, when you have lost one child to adoption, the mere hint of another loss is far too much to bear. I cannot think straight. I cannot process. I lose it. Utterly, completely, totally lose it.

The thought of losing another child triggers a reaction so severe I cannot function.

Other moms would get the fear and anxiety. I get the fear and anxiety AND the knowledge of what it will feel like if my children is indeed lost.

Sometimes knowledge is not a good thing.

7 Thoughts.

  1. Holy Crap!!!! I would have freaked out myself, but understand fully what you were feeling. Sorry hon! Poor little guy was just having fun and forgot himself, but I’m sure that little freckled face has learned not to go anywhere anymore without letting you know first.
    I am happy that your happy Suz, in time this will become not only your home, but your neighborhood and you’ll all have great fun and many, many friends.
    Mo xoox

  2. That last paragraph. You always hit it right on Suz. Fear and anxiety far outweigh the worry.
    That son of yours has a warm loving soul he loved right into your fear for him.

  3. I don’t know what it is like to be you or have gone through what you have gone through. I am not saying I do. However, I would have reacted the same way. I am very protective and hate for my child to be out of my sight. Right now he is little and that is okay, but eventually I will have to let him go. I imagine there will come a day that I will react this way to his being somewhere that I have to look before I can find him.
    Most people tell me I am over protective because I did not give birth to him. Most especially, “you wouldn’t be so over protective if you knew you could just have another one.” I may send those people here to read this post the next time they say something stupid like that. Well, I am glad that everything was fine. Glad you are all enjoying your new home.

  4. Man I can totally relate to this post. I moved out of the inner city to the suburbs and live in a townhouse complex that is an enclosed circle with a speed limit of only 10 km.
    Even still, I had never let my child play outside without me being more than a few feet away.
    We’ve been here two years and I still go thru the anxiety that you speak of.I started off only letting her play out front and then made up the rules as i went.
    the rules help, no playing alone, check in every 20-30 minutes and always tell me where you are. eventually she told me she didnt want me walking her to school anymore – after all MOM its only around the corner!
    suffice it to say, when she is a few minutes late or forgets to mention shes on the other side of our circle my mind goes completely insane.
    i think because of losing my child to adoption – my fears are now paramount. it never does subside.

  5. Your post made me breathe heavy. I didn’t have any more children after losing my son. But I had a similar experience. I was visiting my son in New Orleans right after my granddaughter was born.
    While he was at work, his wife, her mother, along with her five year old and one-year-old, and infant Naomi, and I went to Walmart. (My first time, they didn’t have them in California yet). When we went to check-out, Joey, the five year old, disappeared. Panic and chaos ensued. I couldn’t handle it. While everyone was racing around, including Walmart security, I crumbled. I said I would go look outside, just to get away. I stood outside the door and shook and sobbed. Post-traumatic stress took me for the first time. Joey was found, of course in the candy aisle. I have never felt so paralyzed — and the child was not even my own.
    I totally understand your reaction. The knowledge adds another level.

  6. That is a scary enough experience without the knowledge of the first loss.
    You have an incredible knack for bringing the pain of adoption loss into terms that everyone should be able to understand. I’m pretty much always speechless when I read here, and you know I’m not that way IRL!!

  7. Damn it 🙁 This was so triggering for me, and I haven’t been a first mom, An adoptee who has 2 beautiful children and can so relate to this without even them of the age to be playing away…
    But the tears were streaming..You evoked my emotion for sure Suz((hugs to you))

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