Though it was the 5th of October, it must have been 90 degrees and still climbing, as we parked our car around 9:30 that morning. We started out, joined by other families with strollers and couples meandering their way, all of us heading in the same direction. We had to park blocks away from the festival of local crafts, food, and entertainment held in our small town each year on the first Saturday of October. I don’t quite understand why the first weekend of October is chosen. After all, we do live in Alabama, where the heat rarely loses its strength this early in the “fall.” I love the concept of it, the creativity on display, and the community feel. It just defeats the purpose of enjoying myself when I am sweltering.
By the time we arrived at the stage where my 6th grade daughter would be singing with the school choir, it felt like the temperature had risen ten more degrees. We went searching for any patch of shade available. Everyone felt as though we hadn’t tasted water in hours instead of minutes ago at the car. My daughter ran off to join the other kids, all dressed in their required performance wear, the school colors and, gulp, jeans.
That could have been my first clue.
I knew the performance would be three quick songs. I was already planning to leave immediately and skip browsing the fun stuff, due to the torturous “fall” weather. I thought I would get her a huge snow cone as a reward on the way home.
I underestimated how fast the heat can get to you.
My much-wiser-than-I husband and protector of our brood, did search for our daughter to pump more fluids before the performance, but couldn’t find her in the sea of similar sized kids wearing matching clothes.
We hid behind the stage in the shadow of a tent selling raffle tickets. Bleachers packed with parents surrounded the stage on three sides and a large crowd filled up the standing room. We had already seen the same performance done a few days before and were content to listen this time.
That and sneak over to a nearby tent during the first song to purchase a painted leaf shaped wooden door hanging. As we reach the climax, this evidence is shared to convince the reader that there is not a super with it Mom starring in this story. The super Mom would have been paying closer attention to the danger signs.
Sometime at the end of “A Million Dreams” or at the very beginning of “Hakuna Matata,” someone on a microphone announced that EMS was needed on the stage.
I am the kind of person who freezes up in emergencies. I become paralyzed. My adrenal system buckles, informing me, “Sorry, I’ve got nothing for ya.” Instead of a surge of adrenaline to manage a crisis, I typically feel a surge of nausea and weakness.
I knew the choir had a large number of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders and any of them could be the one in trouble. A number of potential reasons for needing paramedics on the stage could have flashed through my mind. However, I didn’t become cautiously alarmed or try to move in closer to find out what was happening.
I started running.
I knew that I knew that I KNEW it was my child.
I was dodging people and cutting through booths, until I caught a glimpse of the paramedic holding a girl in his arms. And I saw her familiar long blonde ponytail.
She had passed out from the heat but help arrived even before I did. She didn’t fall off any risers or hit her head. They took care of her and everything was quickly okay.
That evening, a thunderstorm passed through, ushering in a cool relief from the never ending summer. We were able to sit outside and talk and laugh and relive the moments of our eventful day. I couldn’t stop marveling in my heart about how a mother can just know and how the Spirit can be so close in a time of need, prompting without words, with a deep sense, with a shiver in your spine that communicates, Go! It is yours!
I am with you.
Jaime Roop is a freshly turned 40-year-old navigating a mid-life journey towards coming out of her shell. She is a hearing 4’11’’ Highly Sensitive Person happily mismatched to her deaf 6’2” computer genius husband. They are raising three blonde blue eyed school age girls in small town Alabama. She earned her MA in counseling and still loves to delve into all matters of heart and heartache, however currently she loves doing her dream job as an American Sign Language interpreter.