Fiercely & Fearfully

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"If the results don't come back showing an infection, then we will send her for a kidney ultrasound." The doctor was referring to my nine-year-old daughter.

As we drove home, I reached over and held her hand, repeatedly squeezing it three times. Sending the words 'I love you' up to her.

My fear was real. It was also irrational.

I spent the evening Googling, 'Blood in urine. No other symptoms'. Never Google. Never.

I didn't sleep. My mind racing ahead to a thousand unthinkable conclusions. My heart vulnerable. Nerve endings worn on the outside, from the moment I held each of my children in my arms for the first time.

Logic, statistics, all stacked in her favour but still, I lay next to her that night, inhaling the scent of her hair. Feeling the rapid beating of my own heart, mismatched to her quiet breathing.

Results on Friday. The week stretches ahead of me. Acres of un-slept nights filled with unfounded fears.

Nothing fuels fear as fiercely as love. The fear of loss. The fear of pain. The fear of the unknown. The fear of careless words and stones thrown. Tearing of tethers, ties that break.

My voice is reassuring, my smile willing. Doing nothing for the heavy stone in my chest.

I know, you know, we all know, that the doctor's phone call on Friday will bring relief.

Until then though, I hold my breath and try not to blink when I look at her. For fear of missing a single moment.

I look so hard. The profile of her face, the upturn of her nose, the way her smile creases into dimples, cementing them into my mind. I love fiercely.

Fiercely and fearfully.

For that is the beautiful agony of parenthood.