This is a Beyond the Books writing prompt.
There are a lot of things I’m afraid of. I have a huge imagination that was poked and prodded as a child by a father who got a kick out of scaring me, which has only fueled my ability to imagine how a situation could go wrong about 20 different ways. But I’ve learned how to overcome many. There’s just two things that can keep me up at night: 1. My daughter getting severely hurt in any way and 2. being forced to abandon her.
I can’t imagine what I would do if anything happened to her, and I’m sure I’ll have the same feelings for the next one when she’s born. It’s amazing how your priorities change once you have children. It makes you reach beyond your limits to do things that you’ve never done before or aren’t comfortable doing. When another life is in your hands, you’ll do anything to protect it and make it better.
Self-sacrifice is a trait for many book characters. As a young reader, it can seem romantic, brave, and determined. When you’re put in that position in real life, you realize there’s also a layer of fear and desperation – a whole mixture of good and bad emotions chopped up and smooshed together into a ball like chunks of playdough in a toddler’s hands. It’s a bit crazy and sometimes ugly when the colors blend, but it’s whole.
Just like the ball of playdough, self-sacrifice becomes a part of who you are as a parent. You learn to live with that ball of emotions, that lingering fear. It motivates you to keep going when you want to collapse. I just hope that I never have to stare that fear straight in the face.