Post hurricane, the yard is covered with branches and leaves and in the distance, chain saws grind away at fallen tree trunks. We got off easy at our house – not even losing electricity. I wasn’t worried about what the storm might bring. I used up all my anxiety worrying about Molly’s safe arrival from England. She landed less than 12 hours before New York airports were closed down and until then, I was a neurotic mess. The hurricane certainly made things worse but regardless, I am anxious when my daughter flies. The powerlessness I feel as she passes through the departure gate is intense. It eases when I know she is with her English family but engulfs me again when I know she is making her way back to me.
Molly was only a few months old when I had my first episode of terrifying vulnerability – a sense of being completely unable to protect my child from the world’s dangers. The sidewalks near my flat in Zagreb were narrow, the roofs of the shops slanted, and the tram line only inches away from the curb. Usually, this was a lovely, benign route to push baby Molly along in her carriage on the way to the market or just to get some air. On one sunny winter morning, snow was beginning to melt, and icy drifts began falling from the rooftops at least 3 stories high, walloping unfortunate pedestrians passing below. What if a mass of snow and ice were to fall on my sleeping baby? I gripped the carriage and walked quickly, then slowly – as if I might guess where the next avalanche might fall. But how could I? I realized then that this is my lot as a mother. There is only so much power I have. While I will nurture and protect and love my child with all my heart, I also better trust in the universe. I needed to venture out into the world without infecting her with fear. Slowly, my panic eased as I turned onto my tree lined street, carried the pram up the stairs to our flat, pushed open the door, lifted now smiling Molly and held her to my beating heart.