Some memories need to be tucked away...(They're not all glorious.)

I have a haunting memory that occasionally creeps into my thoughts and reminds me how fear can haunt a child’s dreams. When we lived on Lemon Road, we had in our neighborhood a man that would roam the streets. I never knew what his real name was, but we all called him “The Weasel.” He dressed in dark clothes, a trench coat clutched tightly around his small, skinny frame. I don’t recall his face; but I have an image of him walking with his head down, a worn fedora on his head, his coat held tightly against him. 

It is seared into my soul.

We were told by our moms to stay away from him – but no explanation was ever given. When we saw him, we would RUN like the wind to hide in the back yard or in our garages, convinced he would steal us away if he could catch us.

It was at night when I was trying to sleep in the cozy canopy bed my father made me that I would truly fear The Weasel. I was convinced that he was lurking in the dark corners of my room and I wouldn’t allow myself to fall asleep.

When I couldn’t take it any longer, I would crawl out of bed, slide across the floor and sneak into my sister’s room. If I was very careful I could sneak into her bed without her even knowing. .(Fortunately for ME she is partially deaf, and wouldn’t always hear my clumsy attempts.) I was awakened most mornings by her hitting me with her pillow and yelling at me to “Stay OUT of my room!!!”

I amassed a number of fears those early days as do many, many children of that age. I was afraid of snakes, going over bridges, being in the dark, sleeping in my own room, lightning, thunder, the Easter Bunny and my closet.

I can’t recall the precise moment I left those fears of youth behind and slipped on that dangerous cloak of invincibility. You know that cloak, don’t you? We’ve all worn it for a time. It renders us fearless during those tumultuous and painful years of adolescence. We try it on when we are perhaps twelve or thirteen, and we grow into it- until finally it fits like a glove.

We wear it when we hop on our bikes and zoom across town, and when we finally earn those car keys and carry the lives of our friends and ourselves in our hands.

As we grow older, a different kind of fear seems to slowly edge into our soul. The fear that every parent, sibling or friend tries to keep buried inside – the fear of unexpected pain and tragedy when something happens to someone we love. It starts as a seed when you watch your child play with their toys, or when they learn to ride a bike and cross the street. You know they will have a scrape or a bruise, and it hurts to see them in pain.

That fear grows as they do, and when instead of a bike you hand them the keys to your car then you know real fear. It’s what we feel when they have donned their own invincibility cloak.  Only by now WE know it doesn’t work.

That knowledge that grips my heart when I hand her the keys to the car? I swallow it like a bitter pill, and pray that she will be delivered back to me, safe and sound.

(It's a repost, but connected so well to the memories I stole back last weekend..can't stop thinking about it..)


Just Two Chicks said...

I'm experiencing that now... my daughter is 18 and I've only just now allowed her to drive the highway. SO scary having her drive from Alcatraz (what we jokingly call our town, because we rarely leave it to venture to Dallas), to Dallas for school... she thinks I'm ridiculous.
Ahhh, to feel invincible!
I can't wait to read about your new year of teaching... 1st grade right? I'll live vicariously through you. I am really missing it this year. Especially since I'm pretty certain we won't get our sensory gym up and running after all :(

A Speckled Trout said...

Today my 18 year old is at driving school. Her schedule and me are the reason she hasn't gone sooner. The other two pestered me for a license, but this one isn't a nagger. I wonder if I was this bad with the other two. It feels worse with this last one and oh, how I wish I could shake it.

Karen Harrington said...

I can so clearly relate to what you are saying, especially now that I've entered the parenting season of life and find danger at every turn. My faith is what sustains me! xoxo

Brian Miller said...

smiles....we def have to have faith in this world...particularly with our kids...my greatest fear is that something will happen to one of my boys...

Unknown said...

oh no! You just started the whole cycle of my wild dreams again...and my boys are just 8 and 4 now!!

noexcuses said...

I had some "fear" dreams, too! And, there is no age limit for worrying about the safety of our kids. I try to think of all of the good things that can happen to my kids. Then, I remember to thank God when they do happen!!

Gigi said...

Mine has been driving on his own for about two years now and I have to say, I still worry every time he pulls out of the driveway. And the thought of sending him off to college (sans the car, thank God!) has paralyzed me.

SkylersDad said...

My one, huge, nagging fear is of the day when I will no longer be able to care for Skyler. Whether it be that I am too old, or whatever, I know that nobody out there will ever take as good of care of him as me.

Anonymous said...

I have friends that live on Lemon Rd. in McLean!

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