I think about them a lot. My girls play in the front, and I always keep a watchful eye. I still haven't gotten used to buttoning their jackets and saying, "now you know what to do in case you see a bear, right"?, as I send them out the door (gulp). I can't see them, but I always feel aware of them out there. Somewhere.
Last night, I dreamt that I was taking a walk with the girls through the neighborhood. It was dark out. Behind us, I saw the bears. All three of them. We began to make noise, to let them know we were there, as not to scare them. I told the girls to walk toward home. Quickly. I turned to look for the bears, and they were running. They were coming for us. I know you aren't supposed to run if a bear is chasing you, but in my dream, I shoved the girls in front of me, and screamed at them to run as fast as they could.
We finally reached the house, and ran in the door, slamming it behind us, just in the nick of time. The bears slammed into the side of the house. They were growling. They were clawing at the door. My girls were frightened. I told them to keep the lights off, and stay quiet. I was terrified in my dream, and fearful of my ability to protect my babies. These lives are my divine responsibility. How could I let something go so horribly wrong?
Maybe it is stress coursing through my veins making me have nightmares. Maybe it is the awful pressure of having to magically deliver Christmas with all of it's joy, and wonder, on barely any money. Maybe it is the fact that after paying our bills, and buying food, and diapers to last until payday, we have $40.00 in our "emergency/gas fund" for the next 10 days.
Maybe it's Charlotte's cough, and the doctor visit I know she needs, but the concern about the copays' high price. Should I take her to the emergency room instead, and worry about that much higher copay later?
Maybe it's the lunch with Santa my girls want to go to that we can't afford, because the price of admission is a Toys for Tots purchase, and I can't even get the funds together to get toys for my own tots. The holiday gift shop at the Intermediate School even has me stressed, and everything there costs a dollar. The girls want to buy presents for each other. It just doesn't fit into our $40.00 budget this week.
And the car. That funny noise that just keeps getting louder. I keep turning the radio up so I don't feel so nauseous every time I drive it.
Or maybe, it's the constant, knawing, thoughts of the uncertain future we face, of staying in our home, that instead, has me worrying about bears, and Christmas, when in reality, I am scared of our ability to provide a home for our children.
I woke up this morning after my bad night of bear dreams, and thought to myself that I wish the threat were just bears at my door. I wish it was that physical, and when they went away, because it was dark and we were quiet, we could resume our carefree walk. We could just take our time, and be together, and I wouldn't have to keep looking over my shoulder. Always aware of what I cannot see in the murkiness of the night.
I understand that momma bear. I understand her fierce instinct to protect. It wanders through my mind constantly.
Even while I sleep.