Friday, April 29, 2011

i have learned to hunt.

colton said, "mom...we can't find aiden."

we had headed out to the boardwalk, after school today, with friends to celebrate the most perfect weather of the spring season.  80 degrees...not a cloud in the sky...nice breeze coming in off the water. 

the kids were splashing and running through the fountain that is designated as a play area for kids.  it wasn't too crowded.  just those of us who were smart enough to revel in the weather before it became too stifling to enjoy the boardwalk.  my mom, my friend, and i were sitting, chatting, and taking care of the babies.  annslee...the fearless, wild one was all over the place.  up stairs...down stairs...climbing on chairs...on the water...on the slides...running...laughing...falling...and getting back up again.  i was so busy trying to keep an eye on her, that when colton said those words...i was unsure that i had heard him right.

but my response was guttural.  my eyes darted from side to side, and i began to quickly scan the area.  i instructed my mom to watch the baby as i quickly prepared to hunt.  i became an animal.  vision clear.  hearing heightened.  the screams of happy children became possible screams of terror.  but no.  they were not the voice of my daughter.  heart quickened.  stomach turned.  the hunt began.  looking.  searching.  scanning.  screaming her name.  my mind went to that place.  visually picturing another animal, silently snatching her into their mouth, disappearing before anyone broke from their conversation.  no.  i will hunt them.  i will fight them.  i will kill them.

my friend's voice pierces my still hearted thoughts.  i turn to see her pointing.  i see her mouth move.  what is she saying?  i turn in the direction of her point.

i see her peering from behind a sign.  her blue and white striped shirt.  her wet, brown hair.  her shy smile.  she was hiding.  they were playing hide and seek.  she had won.

i growled at her to come to my side.  she did.  she ran.  she sensed her mother's instinct of danger and protection.  she did not get distracted.  my heart began to beat again.

i hugged her.  smelled her.  kissed her.  nuzzled her.  then i scolded her.  she cried.  she realized the reality of the predator.  they are out there.  they are watching.  they are waiting.  i am watching too. 

a mother will do anything to protect her young.  including discipline them...when all you want to do is hold them.

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