I’m lying in bed having a happy dream about building a tree house with Puck from the hit TV show Glee when I feel an intense need to wander away. It’s like I’m a super hero and I’ve gotten a telekinetic message that someone is in distress. Suddenly the scene shifts and I find myself on a rooftop with my husband and a small posse of friends. I’m trying to figure out why it is that I’ve been summoned to this location when all at once my husband and our buddies jump through the air and scatter across a dozen different rooftops.

“Go long.” I hear my husband shout and I can see that he is tossing something that appears to be roughly the size of a toddler. I strain forward and discover, much to my horror, that it is our daughter. Panic sets in, “What the hell are you doing?” I bark.

“Don’t you dare! DON”T YOU DARE THROW OUR KID!”

But he doesn’t respond.

I wail. I wildly pump my fists into the air. I froth at the mouth like I’m rabid.

“Help!” I call out.

But the more I shout the more I’m ignored. My kid is being hurtled across the skyline and these people all think it’s a game.  Then out of nowhere someone hands Sage a big blue balloon. She takes the string in her tiny hands and begins floating towards me. I know that in seconds she’ll be back in my arms and I’ll be able to keep her safe. I breathe for the first time since this whole catastrophe started. But as I reach for her she pulls out a large pair of scissors, stares me dead in the eyes…

And snips the balloon.

Suddenly she begins falling towards the ground and I know there is nothing I can do to stop her.

My entire being shatters as I run down to the pavement and find her lying on the ground.

“This is it,” I think as I approach. “My daughter is paralyzed or worse.” But when I arrive at her side she sits right up, plants her arms on her hips, and rolls her eyes as if to say, ” Jeez Mom what’s the big deal. You are so freakin’ neurotic.”

When I wake in the morning I do not need a book to help me analyze the dream. This night vision is so laden with obvious symbolism that I almost feel mad at my subconscious mind for being so uncreative. There I was building a tree house with one of the hottest stars on prime time television (and I’m pretty sure he was going to make out with me just as soon as we got the floor boards secured) when I pulled myself away from this fantasy world just so that I could worry about my kid.

And what did all that neurotic concern get me- an exasperated eye roll. Apparently my daughter was perfectly capable of falling a dozen stories and landing unscathed.

I should have stayed in the tree house.

The meaning was as plain and simple as a piece of dry toast. I need to be less neurotic. I need to chill. I felt like my subconscious mind was staging an intervention. My first response was denial. “It’s not that bad. I don’t worry ALL the time.” But then I really began to think about it. Lately I’ve caught myself wincing when she climbs the ladder at the playground. At mealtimes I watch her like a hawk to make sure she does not choke. During hide-and-seek I peek to be certain that she does not get abducted during the ten seconds that I’m supposed to be closing my eyes and counting. Sometimes in the freezer section at the grocery store I worry she will get frostbite.

Am I becoming one of THOSE moms? The ones who gasp and bite their nails and make their kids carry a list of things they must never touch. This cannot be. I remember those moms. As a child I hated those moms. I recall a girl at summer camp whose mother made her pack her very own personal smoke detector to install above her bunk. We all sat around making fun of that mother for hours. And then there was my classmate whose mom forbade her from drinking out of water fountains and swimming in pools all because of the germs. Her daughter was absolutely miserable, she missed out on pool parties and hydration. We called her mother “The Witch”.

I was never meant to be one of those moms. I was meant to be the cool mom. The laid back mom. The mom in the yoga pants who just goes with the flow, the mom who builds a tree house with a shirtless heartthrob.

And if I’m ever going to mellow it is going to have to be now. After all it’s now that the stakes are relatively low. All I’ve got to do is calmly watch my child scale a two-foot ladder surrounded by rubber flooring without feeling like I’m going to suffer a heart attack. This should be an attainable goal. It’s not like she’s asking to go skydiving or mountain climbing. Not yet. If I relax now I’ll be able to say yes to these endeavors later. And I want to be the mom who says yes to great adventure.

My resolve is firm.

Tomorrow night if I have the same dream I’m staying in that freakin’ tree house.

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