The anatomy of parental panic.

I woke up in a cold sweat; visions of the little rice cooker melting down on her desk, bursting into flames and instantly consuming all that IKEA pressed wood.

What the heck?

“Why am I thinking about this?” I wonder as I grope for my glasses, grab my cell phone and begin typing a quick text to my daughter whose life I obviously imagine is in imminent peril.

It’s 11:32pm.

“You there?”

No response..

“Hey, you there?”

“Oh my gosh..” my stomach starts to rumble, “her room is probably engulfed in choking, black smoke.”

Fully awake now, I  dial her number.

No answer.

I dial it again.

No answer.

I roll out of bed and head straight for the bathroom.

This, my friends, is what happens when my highly active imagination takes a mental roll in the hay with my penchant for catastrophizing.  Before you know it, I’ve birthed a 10 pound, 10 ounce anxiety baby who’s pooping in her pants, screaming at the top of her lungs and demanding my full attention.


And my full attention is exactly what this blubber-bundle gets.

It’s now 11:35 pm and I am hammer calling my kid who’s at college a state away.  She’s been sick with a cold and was super excited to tell me how she was using her rice cooker to simmer water and add humidity to her room. I obviously thought that was a genius idea- until I no longer did at about 11:29pm.

I have no idea how this little worry- seed floated into my consciousness, the one that has now flowered into a full blown panic attack.  Regardless of how it got there,  I am now doing battle with the image of an overheated rice cooker at the center of a deadly conflagration.

“What’s the problem Cindy?” I hear my husband mumble from some far away corner of our king sized bed.  Poor guy, he’s been married to me for 35 years, doesn’t he know he can’t climb into the ring with me on this? Wrestling with anxiety is not a team I ignore him.

I text my daughter’s roommate,

“I’m so sorry to bother you, are you awake?”

After a long minute, a reassuring bubble pops up at the bottom of my screen and then:

“This is Emily’s dad, would you like her number? Is everything OK?”


“Oh, hi!” I type, adding the exclamation point because it makes me sound more fun and less frantic, “I’m so sorry!! I texted you by accident, I’m just trying to get ahold of my daughter who hasn’t been feeling well, I thought Emily might be there with her..”

It’s now 11:40pm.


“No problem!” He types back..probably adding an exclamation point to make me feel less like a crazy mom; his girl’s contact info underlined in the same bubble”

I glance at the digits and add them into a new message.

“Hi! Sorry it’s so late, are you awake?”

No answer..

No answer..


“who is this?”

Oh no..

I quickly glance back at the number Emily’s dad gave me.. I was only off by a digit.

Strange little back and forth apologizing, mystery person eventually getting back to the drug deal that I most likely interrupted finally reassuring me “It’s cool..”


Geez, sure hope it is cause now he’s got my cell number..

It’s 11:48pm.

My gut is now fully engaged, we’re talking code pink (pink for Pepto-Bismol.)

My husband is snoring.. I carefully, deliberately text Emily’s number.

“Hi! Sorry it’s so late, are you awake?”


I wait..

Still nothing.

It’s 11:54pm.

I sit in silence chastising myself for being such a worrying FREAK- I mean who does this? How will I ever get back to sleep? I know nobody else’s phone numbers, there is literally no one else I can wake up tonight.

I try to talk sense to myself..I mean not all cheap rice cookers are made in China-maybe this rice cooker was made in St. Louis or Sheboygan or Orlando and it’s totally fine to keep it on for hours..

and hours..

and hours.

I  pray:

“Dear God!– Oh please let my kid be safe and for heaven’s me get a grip here!”

And then..


I snatch up my  phone and there it is, the one word I needed to see..

the one word that would reassure me..

the one word that would confirm it was my daughter

and that her curtains weren’t falling into a pile of smoldering ash on her bed setting her quilt on fire..








photocredit:Tenor GIF Keyboard,CarseatBlog









8 Comments Add yours

  1. Totally something my mother would do

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      Well, it’s good to know I’m not the only one?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kimberly says:

    haha! glad she answered you or you would have been driving to Williamsburg!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      I mean seriously..every so often I just have
      to sit back in awe of my own nuttiness. 🙄


  3. Lois says:

    lol 😂This had me laughing. I have an 18 year old son away at University. I get the same panic about him every once in awhile. I get the same text back. What??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      HAHAHA!!! I know-it’s embarrassing.


  4. kimwilbanks says:

    I totally get this.


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