Five years in, my most terrifying parenting moment.

The most terrifying moment in parenting is not having the kids. It’s not birth. It’s not the first time they fall. It’s not knowing they’ll be in the army in 18 years.

The most terrifying moment I ever experienced in my (exactly) five years of parenting was today, during the moment after which I opened the car door, leaned across the backseat, put my hand forward to pull back the baby’s car seat cover, and looked inside. That moment, in which, I was not aware my daughter had put her dolly in the car seat, pretended to buckle it in. That moment in which I forgot my newborn was actually sleeping peacefully, resting on my shoulder, even as my head held her soft back. That moment during which, on a 30+  degree day, all I saw, for a split second, was the hot, rubbery, plastic, dead face of a baby.