Writing Prompt 1984: Paquette and the Nazis


(Image from Oo.Cities.org

(Image from Oo.Cities.org)

Writing prompt 1984 asks about being locked in a room with my greatest fear. I suppose that having nightmares is a pretty good metaphor for being locked in a room with my fears.

When B was about six months old, we were staying with my in-laws for what was supposed to be a week to ten days, because the front windows in our house were being replaced. It ended up taking more than two months. But don’t get me started on construction work in South Texas . . .

Anyway, we were not in our own environment at night, and at the same time I was trying to wean B from our bed. That was hard because I was breast-feeding him, and it was simply easier to keep him with me so we could both just fall asleep afterward. But at the time it felt important to try and wean him. (Looking back, we shouldn’t have bothered. He had no problem with his own bed once he was weaned from breastfeeding at twelve months.)

On top of all that, I was reading The Hunchback of the Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo. Anyone who thinks they know the story because they watched the Disney “classic” is sorely mistaken. One of the characters is Paquette la Chantefleurie, whose baby was stolen by gypsies and who has spent almost two decades looking for her, going crazy from grief in the process. I won’t spoil it for those who want to read it; suffice it to say that the outcome is pretty darn horrific. If you thought that Les Miserables is sad and dramatic, you ain’t read nothing yet.

For about five nights in a row, I had a recurring nightmare about being persecuted by the Germans during World War Two, and trying to hide with baby B, knowing it was just a matter of time before the soldiers heard him cry, at which point he would be taken from me and killed before my eyes. I would wake up in a panic, patting the mattress around me, crying, “Where’s B? Where’s B?” until T got me awake enough to realize B was just asleep in the travel crib in the next room.

I’m pretty sure that’s my biggest fear: knowing a horrendous fate awaits my children and not being able to protect them from it–not being in control as a mother.

10 responses to “Writing Prompt 1984: Paquette and the Nazis

  1. That IS scary–that knowledge that we can’t truly protect them. But we have to let them go into the world, or else it would be like locking Rapunzel in the tower.

    I always enjoy your posts.

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  2. Oh sounds just like what used to happen to me, used to have pretty horrific dreams which involved my babies.. Now they are so much more grown up, that part starts to fade away, some days I think it’s time to chuck them out of the nest real soon! 😉

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  3. What a horrifying dream. I’m not our boys biological mom and didn’t start caring for them until they were 2, 4 and 12. So I missed their earliest years. but I had a toddler and an autistic preschooler and I learned pretty quickly the terror that comes when I realized what could happen to them if my attention lapsed for even a minute. Or the first time the youngest was hospitalized with an illness and I realized that no matter how hard I tried, there were some things I would never be able to protect them from. Being a parent is the scariest thing I’ve even done. I can’t imagine caring for them as infants. Still sad that I missed that part though.

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