The annual Gem and Mineral Show started last weekend. Tradition dictates that I take the boys. They have all sorts of fun, looking and learning, talking to vendors, charming vendors. Nearly every year, I take the boys alone because, you know, it’s tough to hear someone say the same thing a thousand and one times. “Don’t touch. Look with your eyes.” It’s also hard to say it a thousand and one times, but that’s a different issue.
Luckily, as the boys get older, they get more mature. I’m down to saying it eight hundred-fifty-four times.
This year we started off on time. We made good time. We got a good parking place. We started looking in a few tents, looking at raw and polished opal and lapis lazuli. Please don’t touch; this stuff is hundreds of dollars.
Then it happened.
A panic attack.
My chest began to ache. It felt like I was stuck in a vice. Like a band tightening and tightening around my chest.
I’ve been through this before so I started to monitor my breath. Breathe one-two-three. Hold one-two-three-hour. Breathe out one-two-three-four-five-six-seven. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
As we walked, I looked for a safe place. A place to keep the boys out of trouble. Safe. We were in public. I couldn’t break down here. Safe. The mini food court was safe. With food to occupy the boys.
So I led them there, concentrating on my breathing, listening to their chatter. I got them there and sat them at a table.
Me: (in a hush tone) Boys, I’m having a panic attack.
Three boys: Oh no, Mama!
Me: It’s ok. We’re going to sit here for a little while until it’s over. So, here Tornado E, why don’t you get a bag of kettle corn and two waters. We’ll share. And no fighting because I can buy more.
Tornado E: But Mama, I don’t want to buy popcorn with my money. I want to buy rocks!
I laughed a littler.
Me: It’s my money that I’m using. Not the money I set aside for your rocks.
So off he went. A big boy responsibility. And then the boys snacked on popcorn and drank water as I concentrated on breathing, wondering if I had family selling in the area, wondering when was the time to call for someone to get us.
Then finally. Finally the pain eased. The boys raced out of the area to explore more rocks. And we were safe.