Monday, June 19, 2006

Stranger Anxiety

The thought didn't enter my mind until I was halfway down the block.
Had I made the right decision?
I barely know Her. And here I am leaving Her in my Home with my 6 month old while I pick up The Boy from Preschool.
She had been to my House once before. The week prior.
I've seen Her off and on over the past 6 months at the Breastfeeding Support Group offered at our local Hospital.
Her baby is a couple of months older than The Mouse.
Like me, She doesn't know many Moms in the area.
Like me, She saw a potential friendship budding and wanted us to get to know each other better. She had come over this day for Lunch and then an afternoon at the Park.
We hadn't had the chance to eat before I had to leave to get The Boy.
His school is only 5 minutes away. It'd be so nice to run in without being weighed down by a 16lb infant in a 10lb carrier.
Can I leave The Mouse with you while I run to pick up The Boy?
Sure! We'll be here.
She had just sat down on the living room floor to feed her Daughter.
Ok, I'll be right back.
I didn't think twice of my decision until I had turned off our block.
Was I being too trusting of this Stranger?
What if I misjudged Her?
Was this one of those I-Should-Have-Trusted-My-Gut-Moments that you see on TV? Where a distraught Mother is being interviewed because Her child has been abducted by someone She thought was totally trustworthy?
Or was I simply being Paranoid [as I have been apt to do since Her Birth]?
I found myself going through the what-if scenarios and then second guessing myself. Confused over how to differentiate between my Gut and simple Paranoia.
What If I come home and her Car is not there? I don't even know what kind of car she drives. I looked at it as I pulling out of my driveway but did not commit anything but the color to memory.
I'd be a terrible eye witness.
She had just suffered a miscarriage a few months earlier. Two days prior had been nuzzling The Mouse when the Group of us met at the park. She kept telling me how much she missed having a Baby to nuzzle.
What if she takes my baby to replace the one she lost?
I've watched way too much Lifetime TV over the years. Made-for-TV-movies fueled my Paranoia.
Do I turn back and take the Mouse with me?
How do I explain my sudden return without offending a potential new friend?
Do I keep going?
How do I forgive myself if something were to happen? For ignoring what I shrugged off as Paranoia but what was in actuality Maternal Intuition?
How in the hell can you tell One from the Other?!?
When I came home everything was I had left it. The Mouse was still in her exersaucer because my Friend was afraid of taking the liberty of picking Her up [even though she admitted to wanting to, because HELLO? Have you ever seen my child?].
I confessed my little conflict to Her.
She was not offended. She understood completely about a Mother's fears.
You left so quickly that I was going to offer to wait outside while you were gone.
She felt the same uneasiness as I did.

I felt reassured.
And yet I still felt guilt over not erring more on the side of caution if for no other reason than to spare myself the stress and anxiety in leaving my child with not-quite-a-Stranger-but-almost-Friend.


InterstellarLass said...

I remember that feeling. Except I felt that anxiety when I left my kids at home with their dad. That's before he stopped drinking. I would go run to Target, get to looking at something, then look down and realize how long I'd been gone before rushing home to find that things were fine.

rose said...

You did trust your gut. If there really had been something iffy about the situation then you would never have been able to leave the house.
Glad you've made a new friend!

Kendra said...

Good thing things worked out so well! ;) We know now she's very understanding, if not a big babyproofer.
And she'll have her own nuzzl-ee #2 soon! :)