This morning I experienced one of my fight or flight moments. I call it that because it truly makes me feel "physically" as if I'm under attack.
Many years ago, when we moved into our home, we were the only house on the block. Construction was still underway and it was pretty desolate once the workers were gone. It was a very hot day and I had just taken the car for a wash. My husband was inside with the kids, and I was alone. I pulled the car into the garage and started drying it with a towel. I immediately felt this chill all over my body as I felt someone come towards me. It was a tall male dressed in old clothes and black gloves. He had a scary look in his eyes, and I knew in every fiber of my being that he was there to hurt me. The fight or flight experience began, my body became covered in fear but I was filled with adrenaline. He began to approach me and ask me about the homes and the construction, I knew that he was there for something else, and hurting me was his main priority. My choice was both, fight and flight. I began to yell at him, I got really loud and told him, "Get out of here!" He then looked at me and got angry, started yelling profanities at me. I then ran, slammed the garage door button, locked the door behind me and called the police. The police said, "Today may have been your luckiest day". They never found him and he was never seen in the neighborhood again.
It was one of the most terrifying things that I've gone through in my life. I do think that had I not followed my instincts that day, it could have been a horrible situation for me. The reason why I chose to share my story is because I get that exact same feeling in my body when I think that my child may have eaten something that she is allergic to. It literally fills my body with that type of fear. I immediately get a pounding in my heart, and I feel as if my life is flashing before my eyes. I feel as if in the next couple seconds whatever I may do will change the course of my daughters future. It is completely paralyzing, yet I manage to find a way to fight. I had a moment like that this morning. My daughter turned to me and said, "Mom, my throat feels funny. I forgot to check the ingredients to the cereal and I feel weird. Am I going to be okay mommy"? I immediately ran as if I were being chased by a mountain lion into the kitchen and checked the ingredients of the cereal box. My hands were shaking, my heart was pounding and I could barely read the words. All I kept doing was praying silently in my head as I read through the ingredient line. It was safe, she was safe and everything was okay but, I want everyone to understand that this is a normal occurrence in our household. Yes, I am vigilant. Yes, I am careful. Yes, we always check our ingredients BUT sometimes accidents occur. My daughter accidentally opened up a new cereal box, the same one that we always purchase. Yet, she didn't check the ingredients before opening. I knew that I had already checked in the grocery store but somehow in that moment everything goes blank and you just REACT! It's very hard not to.
So my heart goes out to all you moms who have heard those terrifying and painful words, "Am I going to be okay mommy?" Keep on doing what you're doing. I admire you all for your strength and courage.