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By Contributing Mama Daphne Biener


My name is Daphne.

It’s been eight months since my last concussion.  It’s been eight months, one week and four days since I saw one of my children crack her head and lose consciousness.

Oh, my children are fine.  But their multitude of accidents has rendered me a total freak.  Funny thing though? I never knew I was freak; that fact was only recently brought to my attention. I am an irrational worrier; a mother locked in a world of illogical fear where dark dangerous scenarios dance in my head like so many sugar plums.  Only a whole lot less sweet.

I was out with my friend Sharon when she received a message from her EMT husband; he was en route to an emergency call at my children’s elementary school.  My girls go to this school, not tightly secured in a little box and not wrapped head to tushie in bubble wrap, but just out there, limbs free to snap and heads magnetically drawn to the nearest hard surface.

Sharon’s children also attend this school, yet she remained mysteriously calm.  I freaked.  I freaked in a big bad way and when I looked for commiseration in her face I saw concern. Not for our respective children, but for me.

•   You know you would have been called if it were your kids?

•   Their classes are not even out at recess now.

•    Come on, relax, what are the chances that it’d be your kid?

Sure, sure I saw where she was going with this.  Logic.  Clear rational logic.  Unfortunately clear rational logic is something that fled my being when my baby chose to leap to her first concussion.  Logic packed its bags for good the second time a head injury left her unconscious.  By the third time a child of mine lay unresponsive… logic, sanity and rationality had all hitched a ride to the coast with nary a backward glance in my direction.

I would have to carry on without them.

And so I have.  In place of logic, I live with a pounding, irrational fear that something will happen to my children.

I thought we all did.

I stood there in the mall that day, paralyzed with fear while above my head my freak flag snapped in a windstorm that impacted only me.  I observed the peaceful calm that reigned supreme on Sharon’s face.   And I thought, you know what?  I’m going to change.  There is no need to worry.  The kids are probably fine.  Kids will be kids, right?  You can’t protect them from everything.

And just like that I pulled down my freak flag and tucked it away forever.  Look at me! I’m totally normal and my children are fine.  Who needs to neurotically check breathing 100 times a night? Not I.  Who needs to replay hypothetical scenes of unsupervised playgrounds and daredevil monkey bar feats?  Not me.  No sir.  That’s all behind me now.  I’m fine.

Really.  I am.  What’s there to worry about?   Nothing, that’s what I always say.

You know, because I’m so normal.

You can read more of Daphne’s work on The Rocky Mountain Moms Blog, on her eco-fabulous site, A Greener Biener, or here on the mama bird diaries.

10 Responses to freak flag

  • kelcey says:

    i don’t think sharon has had to deal with as many head injuries as you. So i understand your paranoia. And I think a certain amount of worry and stress just seems to come with motherhood. Not fun but natural. So wave your freak flag proudly. 🙂

  • Dave says:

    We all carry our flags in different ways. When I came home a few minutes after 7pm last week to a dark empty house my first thought was “Which ER should I check first” and not “Gee, I bet carefree, laid-back, bedtime schmed-time Daphne took the kids out to their favorite restaurant.”

  • LT says:

    The worry gene could also partially come from your parents. And, the crazy amounts of times that you have been to the ER. . .

  • Jeanne says:

    It’s tough not to worry when your fears prove grounded so often.

    But the next 10 or 15 years will be a whole lot easier on you if you can tone it down a notch.

  • Diane says:

    Thank you for sharing. We are all freaks, I think, but some hide it better than others. We have a stitches thing in my house – my son has had his chin stitched up 4 times, his eye once and my 3rd daughter just had stitches on her chin. My husband once said ‘If my kids make it through to adulthood without ever having a scratch, I haven’t done my job’. Meaning, sometimes taking risks means you get hurt. But you cannot go through life without taking any. What kind of life would that be? So just pray, pray, pray for safe keeping of your brood!

  • G-PMikey says:

    Can’t live in a cacoon. You didn’t watch your child steer her sled actively into a tree not anywhere near where she was initially headed. You never really stop worrying. You just start lying to yourself that you are beyond it. Right.

  • Meredith says:

    My husband grew up with his mother neurotically wrapping up her children in her own personal freak flag. They were not allowed to have playdates or birthday parties or do sports or any of those kid things. Jason’s brother died when he was about 22 cliff-diving. And, Jason became the most type-A, “I must control and plan for absolutely everything because otherwise the world will stop spinning” overachiever ever.

    I thoroughly applaud your style of freak because it’s all yours. You do a splendid job of encouraging the girls to dream and dance and jump, while keeping your freak to yourself. Don’t feel like you should give it up!

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