Tonight my husband is on an overnight retreat with the other partners in his firm. I've spent all day with an unusually cranky baby and a wounded three year old (pinched finger in the door and bled like she had her finger blown completely off-nightmare), yet I've managed to keep my sanity somehow. That is until about half an hour ago when I convinced myself someone had snuck into my house and is currently hiding somewhere, waiting for me to go to sleep.
I am a lover of all things scary and horrific. Scary movies, gory movies, haunted houses, creepy books-- you name it, I'm digging it. I saw the Exorcist when I was seven years old with no permanent damage. Granted, I was often afraid to walk on the floor for fear of a demonic hand plunging up through the green shag carpet and dragging me to hell, but other than that I was solid as a rock. I saw The Shining when I was ten and though I couldn't get in a bathtub for awhile, I didn't have a single bad dream.
Before I was married I happily lived alone in a cute little apartment, never fearing a maniac was a stow away on the SS Misti. Even once I was married I was never afraid to stay by myself when Husband traveled overnight. But something happened to me once I had kids (physical and emotional damage aside). I have become a big old fraidy cat. I imagine some unknown terror lurking behind every corner--not to take me to the dark side, but my children. Before I had children a noise in the night was just the rabid squirrels that infest our backyard and have sex in my trumpet vines. Now when I hear a noise in the night, I'm pretty sure the source is not sex crazed squirrels, but a homicidal maniac standing over the crib of my baby with a bloody knife poised to....well, you know.
Tonight I'm freaked out ahead of time because I found one of the back door locks undone when I could swear I had already locked it. I promptly did a search of every crevice in the house, but the attic. Surely I would have heard someone climbing in the attic, right?
I realized I was really freaked out when I charged my daughter's room with phone in hand and 911 partially dialed (except later I realized I'd punched in 99-I'm awesome in an emergency). She was in bed watching Lion King and I could hear "Circle of Life" over my own bedroom T.V. (I was watching Vampire Secrets on the History channel) when it abruptly went silent. I dropped the baby on the bed, grabbed the phone, punched in 99 (wtf), and busted through her door to find....nothing. Just Sam in her bed watching the Lion King. I guess the song had just ended.
I just heard a thump and a bump so I've paused Vampire Secrets to listen for an intruder. It was probably just those nympho rodents. Maybe I've been watching too much Dexter (Showtime- excellent series based on excellent book series of the same name) so I'm projecting serial killers into my attic. Every noise I hear is part of the serial killer's murderous plot to soothe his savage soul on my family. The air condition comes on and I think, what if that's to cover Samantha's cries for help. So, I get up for the tenth time and check on her. She's still fine. But, I'm clearly losing it.
I hate how easily I spook these days, but it's yet another price to be paid for the honor of motherhood. It's times like these I wish I'd learned karate so I could kick serial killer ass, but instead I'll just pray I punch in the right emergency numbers should I ever need them. And I'll stall the monster with some jokes till the cops show up. That'll work, right?