I have been living inside my head too much lately. It's a side-effect of being home alone too often. TCBIM is gone 5 nights out of 7 and I'm left here to think, stew, feel, get myself in a tizzy and over what? Sometimes it's something big, sometimes it's nothing at all.
Watching the BBC news last night, seeing the statistics that 1 in 3 Iraqis are living without running water, decent nutrition and sanitation. Seeing the liquid brown eyes of small children, living 10 to a room, fathers, brothers, uncles, gone, no door, cooking facilities outside and yet their eyes are so trusting, so solemn, boring into my soul, making me cry, making me rail, making me quiver with sorrow and anger, making me clutch my babies close to me.
Boo, not understanding my tears, says "You cry, Mama? It's ok, I here, it's ok," as she pats my shoulder with her chubby, well-fed hands and even though we are struggling, we are behind on the mortgage, on the light bill, we have food. We have a roof. We have each other, all together, healthy, whole, not shell-shocked by war, not having to cook on a stove outside because there is no kitchen, just a room with a bed. We are safe.
Hearing of this child left in a car, accidentally, by a parent, these girls raped and murdered in their home, the next horror perpetuated on a small, defenseless person, a person who didn't ask for these things to happen, who just wants love and safety and someone to trust in and it breaks my heart wide open, the pain almost visceral as I hear stories, stories I try to avoid (don't watch the news, don't watch the news, a mantra in my head), knowing what they do to me, how they rip me apart, exposing that naked quick, the part of me that cries and clings to my children, hoping, begging, pleading for nothing to ever happen to them because what if? What if? What ifs keep me awake at night, keep me hanging over the crib, keep me sitting on the edges of beds, watching them breathe, keep me walking close behind them, fear knotting my stomach as the possibilities for injury, for hurt, for anything, everything unfold in my head, making it hard to stand upright at times, making my brain scramble and whirl, making my knees turn to jelly, my heart aching just at the thought.
Fear makes me bolt upright in the middle of the night, makes me prowl the house after dark, making sure doors are locked, ovens are shut off, children are safe in their beds. I thought, foolishly, that as my children got older, got a little less reliant on me, that I would fear less. Instead, fear and I are bosom enemies, uneasy bedfellows. Fear that if the fear stops, if the unthinkable happens, I will surely go mad. Fear that the fear itself will drive me mad. Fear has given me Red Shoes, has taken me into its arms for an endless dance, a dance I don't know how to end, a dance I do, day and night, not knowing how to stop, unsure that I will survive.