My greatest fear is losing one of my children. It's hard to write those words.
Lillian, Grady, and Dempsey are my morning, noon, and night. My greatest accomplishment. My heart. My soul. My world. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They bring out the best in me. And at times, the worst.
I worried about my children long before they entered the world.
The first time I became pregnant, I was oblivious to the heartache that is a part of bearing and raising children of your own. I was 27. I miscarried. The thought that this could happen had never crossed my mind. I worried I wouldn't be able to have children.
The second time I became pregnant, I worried. I feared another miscarriage. My water broke one day before my 37th week. Lillian was born the next day, exactly three weeks early. I worried it might be too soon.
When Lillian arrived, I anguished over SIDS. I also doubted the driving abilities of others. I didn't want her to ride in a car without me. I was consoled by the thought that if there was an accident, at least we would go together.
The third time I became pregnant, I miscarried again. I knew what was happening before it actually happened. So I worried. About everything.
The fourth time I became pregnant, Grady arrived, many worrisome months later. We should have just named him Worry.
With Grady, I doubted we would all make to his third birthday. I feared broken bones, head injuries, and lacerations. They all happened. We made it. To three. Now I worry about four.
The fifth time I became pregnant, people started asking if we knew how this whole getting pregnant thing worked. I assured them we had a pretty good idea. I worried that we already had two healthy children, would we be as lucky the third time around? Dempsey was born. Healthy.
By the time Dempsey blessed our family, I wasn't worrying quite so much. Maybe I just didn't have the time to think. About anything. I worried that I wasn't worrying enough.
It's a wonderful thing, being so busy. My mind is often preoccupied. I don't have a lot of time to worry. But there are still plenty of things that I worry about. I worry one of them will get hit by a car. While playing, waiting at the bus stop, or walking through the grocery store parking lot. I worry about car accidents, a fall from a window, and drownings. I worry about brain tumors and childhood cancers. I anguish about anything that is irreparable. It's a mother's right and duty to worry. It's what we do. All day. Every day.
Never before have I worried that one of my children could be gunned down in an elementary school classroom. That's irreparable. There are twenty moms, just like me, whose babies aren't coming home. They worried about the same things I do. But never that. I'm sure of it.
Twenty children are gone. I am holding on to my three for dear life. Twenty mothers had their right to worry torn away. I am worrying like I've never worried before. And thankful that I still have children to worry about. God bless the children. Their mothers. Their fathers. Their sisters. Their brothers. Their families. We should all be worried.