You’re Stronger Than You Think

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“Mommy I’m scared. I can’t breathe.”

You never want to hear your child say that to you. And when my four-year-old daughter recently said it to me one night around 2am when her cough went from 0-60 out of nowhere, I didn’t waste a second getting her to the emergency room.

This isn’t the kind of thing where I pat myself on the back for getting my kid the medical attention she needed one scary night just in the nick of time. It’s a fairly basic requirement to keep your kid alive and I did what any normal parent would do in the situation. In fact, I spent the following seven hours pacing nervously around her hospital room, mentally berating myself for all the things I may have done wrong that, in my frazzled state, I thought landed her in that room in the first place.

You see, I’m THAT mom. The one who thinks the worst, all the time. The one who worries, who panics, who overthinks and overreacts. I know, I know. We’re parents, we all do that. But when the going gets tough, I retreat back into my shell like a terrified turtle — frozen, shaking, crying, feeling sick to my stomach and envisioning every worst-case scenario on earth.

Maybe this is you too. Maybe you’re a worrier, a crier, a freaker-outer like me. Maybe not by nature, but when it comes to your kids at least. Maybe you also often wonder how quickly your legs would turn to jello and your lunch would come back up if your world were to suddenly fall apart at the seams. If so, maybe now I can offer you some hope.

I drove as fast as the gas pedal would allow, flying past red light after red light, one eye glued to the road and the other to my daughter strapped into her car seat behind me. Finally at the ER, we sat for a minute and waited for a nurse while my baby cried and clung to my shoulders, calling out for me in between her tiny gasps for air. I could feel my body trembling from the inside, felt the desperate sobs gathering at back of my throat and the tears welling forcefully under my eyelids. I felt myself breaking down.

This is the moment you are not prepared for as a parent, should you ever find yourself in this situation. This is something you will not learn to handle in a parenting class or a self-help book. This is that make-or-break moment when you are faced with a choice. You can choose to fall apart in this moment, let your anxiety win, let the terror wash over you and just lose your mind completely.

Or this is the moment you quickly realize there is no choice to be made, and that there never really was. And I promise you, you won’t fall apart. No, instead you will be hypnotized by the adrenaline. Your mommy autopilot will kick in. You’ll push that terror so far back inside that you may never see it again. You’ll put on the bravest face you can muster for your child and you WILL power through it. You got this, mama.

So in perhaps the strongest moment of my entire life, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and shook it all off. I held my little girl in my arms as tightly as I could and I swore to her that she was going to be absolutely, positively fine. Inwardly, I made the same promise to myself.

If you’re the type who is normally good under pressure, this probably isn’t as big of a deal to you as it seems to me. But in that moment, I will never forget the way I looked fear dead in the face and told it to buzz off. For just a little while, for my sweet, scared baby girl, I was her superhero. I didn’t recognize myself, overcome by this sudden strength I never knew I was capable of. I’m grateful for it, and I sleep a little better now knowing I had that cape all along, tucked away and waiting for the day I’d need to put it on. I really hope I never need it again, but if I do at least I know it’s there.

By Jeannine Cintron, a Staten Island mom of two. Read her blog at www.HighchairsandHeadaches.com

 

Posted in Featured Articles


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  1. Movies Under the Stars: School of Rock

    June 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Corporal Thompson Park
    Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film. Know Before You Go: You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit
  2. Gentle Flow Yoga

    June 24 @ 10:00 am - July 22 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  10:00 am - 11:00 am
    Alice Austen House Museum
    Join us on the lawn of Clear Comfort for yoga every other Saturday this summer. Led by Be Yoga & Dance in partnership with Shape Up NYC.
  3. Day at the Races

    June 24 @ 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Monmouth Racetrack
    3rd Annual “Day at the Races,” a Jaimes’s LILAC foundation fundraiser at Monmouth Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. Saturday- June 24- 11am to 6pm; tickets are $40 adults- $20 children - includes entrance and all you can eat.
  4. Zentangle 101

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    South Beach Library
  5. Storytime: “The Rainbow Fish”

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Barnes & Noble
    This modern classic is celebrating its 25th year in print! With eye-catching foil stamping glittering on every page, it offers instant child appeal. But it is the universal message at the heart of this story about a beautiful fish who
  6. Homework Help

    June 24 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm High School volunteers are offering their services to help with reading and math! Reading:Prek -Third grade, Math: prek to eighth grade. First come first served. Sign up lists will start the day of each session when library
  7. Music & Movement

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    New Dorp Library
  8. FREE Family Fun Day

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Conference House Park
    Rain date June 25. Face painting, costume characters, giveaways, zumba, cotton candy, food, music, popcorn, ice cream, drinks. For more info call Tom Crimmins Realty 718-370-3200.
  9. Food Truck Festival at The Mount

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Mount Loretto
    Join us at Mount Loretto on June 24th and 25th from Noon-8pm each day for our Second Annual Food Truck Festival Presented by ShopRite! If you think last year’s event was big…you ain’t seen nothing yet! This event will feature
  10. Beehive and Honeycomb paintings

    June 24 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts Vocabulary; create mixed media Beehive and Honeycomb paintings.