One lousy thing about being a writer is my imagination is always on steroids.
Plus when you’re a writer and a mother, there is guilt. I’m not talking about the guilt of deadlines, or traveling when there’s an event at home, or being preoccupied with the book a little too much.
No, I’m talking about the guilt of having an imagination that’s always on steroids. Because if you have more than one child, chances are high you’ll pass that particular blessing on to at least one of them. If so, my condolences. And a suggestion: get out the Tylenol. You will need it.
Case in point (actually two cases). Case one: Several weeks ago, a friend left six chocolate covered strawberries on my doorstep. Delighted, I brought them inside, ate one, and put the rest on a high table for later. When my back was turned, Luna, my Sheltie, jumped up, grabbed three and gobbled them down before I could pry her mouth apart (first time she has ever grabbed food from the table). I spent the next twenty-four hours in one of three states: on my laptop trying to assess how much chocolate it takes to cover three strawberries and how toxic that would be to a 20 pound Sheltie; staring at her while I waited for the convulsions to start; and obsessing about how we would break the news to Teen Freud that one of the dogs died while he was in Morocco.
Case two: in Morocco, Teen Freud was having adventures of his own, including, but not limited to, getting a bad concussion after hitting his head so hard on a bathroom sink that part of it broke off. Determined to avoid Moroccan hospitals (he was traveling with an Australian medical doctor who came equipped with her own IVs and syringes, among other things) he opted to wait until he got to the London leg of his trip before seeking medical attention. Unfortunately before he could do that, he bumped his head a second time which led him to immediately google second impact syndrome. He spent the next several days convinced he had it, waiting for the convulsions to start, and obsessing about dying so far away from home.
By the time we got wind of all this, Luna had recovered completely but Teen Freud was certain he was poised to die from a brain bleed. I’m not minimizing brain bleeds. They’re serious, we all know that, and there’s no question Teen Freud had a bad concussion, which is nothing to mess with either.Two doctors told him so (one was, in Teen Freud’s words, ‘barely out of diapers’ and you haven’t lived until you’ve heard your baby child describe someone else as young enough to be in diapers).
You also haven’t lived until the offspring with the imagination on steroids sustains a (potentially serious) injury 7500 kilometres away from home and you are forced to read between the lines. To separate the rhetoric from the meaningful. The facts from the paranoia. Until you are forced to remind yourself that he carries your genes, your imagination, and your touch for drama along with a dose of hypochondria that clearly came from the other side of the family.
One great thing about children who travel is they always come home. And there’s nothing lousy about that. However, Teen Freud is now convinced he has post-concussion syndrome.
We’re beating back our collective imaginations and monitoring the situation. Stay tuned.