The night around them lay heavy. Every sound was something sinister...
Oh, wait. Wrong story.
This one is much more terrifying, I'm afraid - and there are no heroes. No one to save you. All you can do is walk slowly through the darkness, and pray for the light to come - and come it will, but it will take its dear time.
"It can't be that bad." You think, scoffing at my title as you gaze lovingly at your rosy cheeked, adorable chubby fingered toddler. "My baby could never become the stuff nightmares are made of."
I was that naive and delusional once - and then my child became a pre teen.
She was so sweet, thoughtful, and considerate; every bit the angel that yours is right now. If I concentrate hard enough I can still remember the sound of her giggling, and how it felt to be her best friend, respected, the center of her world.
Then, the inevitable happened.
She became twelve, and Aunt Flo found her.
Suddenly my sweet, considerate child became this hormonal, moody thing that only wanted me around if I was a convenience for her. Not just during "That time of the month." Oh no. Don't delude yourself into thinking it's only then.
I went from momma to mom and when she's annoyed (which is oh so often) or mad Muh-Therrrr. Just like that. Just like how it's spelled. I assure you.
Now instead of hugs, kisses, and smiles I get eye-rolling, huffing, and stomping, or - my personal favorite - the sarcastic, rude remarks and ever popular "must get the last word in no matter the cost."
I've been meandering through this dark, abysmal Hell for three years now, and there are times that I've been concerned that I may need to contact a priest to perform an exorcism, or even had the passing thought that I may be cleaning split pea soup off my walls and bedding at some point.
It hasn't come to that yet.
No, after reading - a lot - and talking to other mothers, I've come to the conclusion that there is no way to avoid this, there is no way around it, no amount of light or positivity will fix it, the only thing we can do is love them through it. No matter how challenging and difficult it may seem.
We've been where they are, and look at us now.
So, we face the dark head on, and one day the light will come back... one day we will see that rosy cheeked cherub peeking out at us again, albeit older and wiser (thanks to us), and we'll know we made it.
The horror will have all been worth it.