Raise your hand if you have an extremely overactive imagination and watch too many crime shows. Yeah, so do I. I've always been a supreme worrier, but something about becoming a mother really refines the paranoia. You go from worrying every now and then to staying up at night imagining all sorts of unspeakable horrors. I am especially famous for worrying when things are going too well. I tend to sniff out stress like a badger, and today was no different.
The Mister and I had a wonderful day yesterday exploring Los Angeles with the boys--so much so that we decided venture around our city's downtown to window shop and take some pictures of local architecture. Mikey and The Mister were a bit behind me, so I decided to wait with Nico (strapped in the double stroller) under the portico of an antique store we planned on scouring.
I wasn't really paying much attention, so all of a sudden I found a man and two women surrounding the stroller. The man started cooing at Nico in Spanish and--wait for it--started caressing his face and tickling him under his chin!
Back off my kid, pal.
He looked at me and said, in Spanish, "I love babies and he is the most beautiful little boy."
Uh huh. That's nice. I pulled the stroller closer to my body and the glanced at the women (one of them very pregnant) now fixated on Nico. The man then reached out to pick up Nico! He looked at me and said, "May I pick him up?"
"No. You may not." I promptly start shitting 5,000 bricks. The Mister appeared out of nowhere. Knowing him, he saw everything from 20 yards away and came running.
One of the women looked at Mikey and said to The Mister, "He reminds me so much of my son. May I give him a hug?"
What the Hell is going on here?
The Mister told them no, and they thanked us all left. We walked into the antique store and I just stared at The Mister and my boys, who I am now convinced were almost kidnapped. Then The Mister told me that they had already approached him and Mikey and that the women were caressing Mikey's head and trying to give him hugs. He had to tell them to take their hands off him.
Now the brick shitting is up to 10,350.
The rest of our outing was, essentially, ruined. I developed an instant migraine which has yet to leave. I kept imagining them blindsiding us from behind a corner and taking the boys. I told this all to The Mister who looked at me an said, "That wouldn't happen. I'd take them all down-- even the pregnant one. I'd roll her, too."
I'm sitting here writing, trying to put into words what only a mother knows. That once you have children, there really is no greater love than the love you have for your child. But it's not just love. It's fear, too. This immeasurable love is mingled with the most intense fear you will ever experience. Fear that wraps around you like a cold snake when you watch the news, watch certain shows, or take walks with your family on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon.
I burnt the chicken, tonight. It was a recipe for an orange marinade I developed and planned to share with you next week. My mind was on other things, and I set the oven to 375. Not a high temperature, but with all the natural sugars in the marinade the chicken skin is now black as pitch. It's perfectly edible, but certainly not appetizing. My parents should be here any minute, and all I have to offer is incinerated chicken. The Mister must have read my mind because he looked at me and simply said, "Look. Those people got to me, too."
Thanks, The Mister. It helps to know daddies get scared, too.