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Mom's Imagination - Open 24/7 by Sherri L Dodd

Walking on one of the wooded trails around my older son's school, I noticed a man walking with a child that resembled my toddler, clothes and all. They were on the trail a small distance above mine separated by a ravine. I was not absolutely sure about the accuracy of my increasingly-aged vision, but nevertheless hurried to reach the trail head where we would both merge upon the parking lot. Now obviously I knew I had safely dropped my toddler off at his preschool that morning, but still wondered why was there such a striking resemblance? As I drew near I noticed the bleached-blonde-haired gentlemen hastily packing the child into the passenger front seat. My heart began to settle since I realized the child was a bit older and not my son, but I continued to approach anyway. The man slammed the door to the silver Volvo wagon with slightly tinted glass and executed a quick jog to the driver's side. As I emerged upon the road, they drove past me. I noticed that the boy in the front seat was around six, however, as I scanned the back seat passengers of the passing car, I did see my beloved toddler strapped tightly in the driver's side back seat, his expression marked with a curiosity of "where am I going". PANIC! I could not believe what I was seeing! It was him! I started chasing the car and tried to retain every bit of information I could. Driver - man in his late thirties, beach bum style hair and clothing, approximately 5'11" and slightly stocky. The car color, year and license plate with only a local dealer's advertisement were burned into my memory. I continued to pursue the car and as it sped from the scene, the sinking feeling of helplessness weighed on me. I didn't want to stop the chase for I would lose sight of the direction, yet I needed to call someone in the seemingly vacant neighborhood to launch the Amber alert and summon the police. I screamed for help. "Please someone help me!" I began to cry, sobbing and shouting "No! No! No!"

All the horrible desperation I experienced, feelings that no parent should ever feel, gently began to dissipate as the dawn slowly seeped through my watery eyes. At the sight of daylight, I realized I just had one of the all-time worst dreams ever! I was still crying and still felt the hopeless feeling of loss from the abduction of life's most valuable treasure. My husband, startled awake by my cries of help was given a full recount of the dream and I remembered everything in vivid detail. After grounding myself and realizing the rigorous adrenaline surge I just experienced, I set off to my toddler's bedroom, woke the snug little bugger, held him, hugged him and kissed him over and over again. He, a creature of habit, was trying to break loose of my smothering clutches and merely mumbled "brekfis".

If you have ever had a similar dream, there is no need to tell you that I was obsessed with my terrible feeling for atleast half the day. As I recounted the tale to several friends, I felt the panic and fear all over again. My speech would quicken and I placed great emphasize through hand and arm gestures during the most frantic moments. Reaching out, I would grab my girlfriend's arm as if I was holding on for dear life trying to avoid a fateful fall into a violent, rushing river. Empathetically, they would reassure me that "it was just a dream".

All I want to know is what on earth happened to the silly dreams I used to have before children? Where is the simpleness of being naked in the back of a classroom not knowing the answers on a stupid English test? Or how about the invigorating fall from a skyscaper's needled tip, complete with rushing wind against your nose-diving face, all the way to about an inch above pavement, and then awakening with a lunge out from the covers...AHH! And further, finding it was just a dream and being well able to proceed throughout the day without another moment's thought. Even the dreamtime encounter of the long, scaly serpentine winding itself at my feet was no match for this particular early morning motherhood sleep encounter.

While it is tempting to analyze whether my dream was symbolic of my little babe growing up so fast and the different ages and stages being packed into that same vessel, fleeting as life does, or whether I should learn to pursue concerns to the very end even if they begin to appear erroneous, is moot. The fact remains that worry and concern during the waking hours is just not enough for the mind of a mother.

In all, let us consider all the dangers from which we mothers must be prepared to save our children. First, there are real dangers such as stray dogs, harmful cleansers or possible falls, with the list changing as the child grows. Then, there are daydream dangers of having to rescue our children from burning buildings, cars plummeting off of a bridge into icy water and defensive moves against blatant bad guys (such as the two-headed purple people eater). And then, finally, when we are to be getting restful sleep at our most sub-conscious level, instead, we must still fight off more worrisome scenarios.

For me, I thank goodness that studies have shown that beyond ninety percent of our fears will never come to pass. And, the ones that do will most likely be along the lines of missing an ingredient in our favorite dish, forgetting to include clean socks in our gymbag or mailing a birthday card to a loved one. Perhaps, even those would cause stress, but anything is better than harm directed in the way of our little ones. Therefore, we can all rest assured that our wild mommy imagination, which operates day and night, is just another form of creatively finding ways to keep our children safe, despite any self-inflicted, heart-pounding effect it may have on us in the interim.

About the Author: Sherri L Dodd is the creator and author of the newly-released book, Mom Looks Great - The Fitness Program for Moms. She is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant with over fifteen years of exercise experience. She has lectured to groups on her fitness plan and is a freelance writer on the topics of fitness and general nutrition as well as the humorous side of motherhood.

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