Don’t feed the anxiety dragon

The Night my 7-year old son was missing from his bed

This is without question one of my worst nightmares. It’s 10:30 PM, I am about to go to bed, I drop off some things in my room, on the bed and start to make my rounds to give my kids a final kiss and tuck in. I knew they don’t know I do it at that time of the night and it’s really for me, but I like it and It is part of my routine. When I get to my oldest son’s room he is not in his bed. I’m a little puzzled at first because although he will often crawl into our bed I was just in our room and he wasn’t there.

So I assume that he is in his sisters bed, odd because he has never done that but perhaps he couldn’t sleep. He’s not there.

I check his room again. He’s not there.

I check the baby’s room again (as if I could have missed him sleeping on the floor in a such a tiny room). He’s not there.

I check our bed again, maybe he is snuggled in the pillows. He’s not there.

I check the floor beside our bed. He’s not there.

I run downstairs to the front room (we had been in the TV room so I know he is not there), he’s not there.

I start to run, beginning to panic to the basement spare room, hoping he is there. HE IS NOT THERE.

Not on the couch in the basement. He is not there.

My mind starts to race, panic sets in. The front door wasn’t locked. Did he in his 7-year old curiosity sneak out? Where is he!!!??? I frantically yell to my husband quickly explaining that he is not in any beds or couches. In a second it sinks into my husband and he starts frantically rechecking all the places I have already checked. My heart is racing. Where is my baby?

Then I check behind the couch. Not sure why. He’s there!!! With a pillow and a blanket. I literally toss the couch aside and yell- “he’s here, he’s here, he’s behind the couch”. Not sure what went through his mind to go to sleep behind the couch. Probably just being his silly cute little self. In all the commotion he wakes and cutely smiles at me and snuggles into my arms to be carried up to bed. He’s in no position to know what just went on or answer what he’s doing behind the couch. My heart races for the next 10 minutes while I try to calm it down.

Then here was the lesson for me. Once all was settled and he was back to sleep and tucked into bed and my husband and I were able to nervously laugh about the whole thing my husband said something very thought provoking for me (he didn’t mean it to be thought provoking but I learned something valuable). He said “you should post that on Facebook!!” For a nanosecond I thought about it. I mean I post other stories on Facebook and surely I would get the mama love that I needed in that moment. But I didn’t post it. I knew that I needed some time away from it until I could share the story. I knew that if I posted it on Facebook I would get the mama love I needed but I would also fuel the anxiety that had been created by the whole situation. I would have risen the fears and anxieties and “what if’s” and “thank God” and “can you imagine”. And although I would have appreciated the love and support – I would not have likely slept that night because I would also have fed the anxiety, panic and fear. I was not willing to do that. It would have been an easy (and sensational) story to share and in other times I might have thought nothing to share it. But at this moment I was able to be mindful of the other negative effect it would have on me and that was not worth it for me. I knew that in order to share this story it needed to be with some space from the physical and emotional reaction of the moment so that I was not creating anxiety but sharing what turned out to be a funny little story. So many times we all walk around mindless of some of the decisions that we make and how they affect us on an emotional level. This for me was a good awakening to not feed the anxiety dragon.


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