Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fear of Dying

When my friend Erin and I went skydiving for her 30th birthday, we invited her other best friend, Gretchen, to come skydiving with us. Gretchen said something like, "No way! I can't imagine putting my life at risk by doing something so crazy when I have a little boy. I just can't." Neither Erin nor I had children at that point, so we didn't really get it.

Now I get it.

In a few days I am having surgery to deal with a pretty serious skin condition that I have which causes scarring and can lead to a loss of mobility of your arms and your legs. It's not major surgery, but it's not really minor either. And even minor surgery can have complications.

I've had surgery three times before--once an exploratory laparoscopy, once to remove my gallbladder, and once because my appendix burst. All of them turned out fine, more or less, and I wasn't overly worried about it.

But this is different. Now, I AM A MOMMY. And not only that, but a single mommy and the only parent my son has ever known, since his dad has never even met him, has never even seen a picture, and isn't involved in any way.

Because of this, I am fraught with emotions about my upcoming surgery. I am so worried that something will go wrong, leaving my son to be raised by my parents, with whom I have a very difficult relationship.

To prepare for this, I had a will drawn up. I've written letters explaining how I would want my son to be raised: vegetarian until he's old enough to decide for himself, no guns, no hunting, no forced religion.

I know I will probably be just fine, but it's so hard not to worry that maybe I won't be.

Today when my parents came to take my son to their house so I could finish my work before I have surgery (I teach college and have tons of papers to grade), I had a hard time holding back the tears. I am going to try to see him before my surgery, but I might not be able to make it to their house (an hour and a half away) before I have surgery.

My mind kept going to the thought "What if this is the last time I see him?" The tears welled up in my eyes.

He was sitting in the back seat of my parents' car in his car seat, waiting to go to their house.

"Can I have a kiss?" I ask.

"NO! You can't!" he says, a typical response for my three-year-old boy.

"Ok, don't kiss me. I don't want a kiss. I HATE KISSES. Ick. No way do I want a kiss." I try reverse psychology on him, and it works.

A big grin spreads across his face, and he grabs my face with both hands and plants a few juicy ones on my lips. We both laugh.

"I love you," I say.

"I don't love you," he says. "You're not a good mommy," he says, smiling, then makes his scrunched up "mean" face. He loves to bug me, the little turkey.

I think . . . . what if this is the last thing he says to me? I can't help but be melodramatic and overly emotional.

I tickle him. "If you say that again, I will tickle you more!"

He laughs. "I don't like you! You're not a good mommy!" I tickle him. He continues to goad me, and I continue to tickle him.

Finally he says, "I love you. You're a good mommy."

"How about another kiss?" I ask.

"I just gave you one!" he complains.

"How about another one? I need a few more."

He obliges and gives me a few more wet, sloppy kisses.

"Let's go!" he yells at my dad, as if he's a chauffeur.

They pull away from the curb, and once he's out of sight, I burst into tears.


Alaina said...

Wow. I so admire your strength. I'll be thinking of you and your little man - what a sense of humor!!!

Ms. Single Mama

Mama Solo said...

Thanks Ms. Single Mama! I'm a new blogger, so happy to see you saying hello.

I came through the surgery quite well, though it was a bit more intense than I expected it to be.

Yes, my little man is quite the character--a turkey, I like to call him.

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