By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published May 19, 2008 at 5:15 AM

My son and I attend a playgroup every week at a nearby school that’s guided by a wonderful teacher. The last time we attended, she gave each child a piece of beeswax as a parting gift. (Beeswax is malleable, so kids can play with it like a hunk of clay.)

Upon receiving the gift, Levi was so excited, he turned to me, waving the wax above his head, and said in a loud, chipper voice, "Look, Mom, I got ear wax!"

As soon as he said this, everyone laughed, including me. Instantly, his face fell and he lowered his head. I stopped laughing. He was embarrassed. I wanted to pull a bubblegum ice cream cone out of thin air, but instead I hugged him and whispered in his ear, "I know what you meant."

Driving home, he was really quiet. I kept glancing at him in my rear-view mirror, checking to see if he had fallen asleep. Instead, he was looking out the window with an expression that must have been similar to the one Kermit wore on the morning Jim Henson died. I felt his melancholia before he spoke.

"I really meant to say ‘beeswax,’’’ he said in a small voice.

"I know, Levi," was all I could say. "I know."

I thought about the incident for the rest of the day, and well into the next, and it sent me crawling down the path of future heartbreaks, like when a best buddy revokes his lunchroom seat, or the girl (or boy) says no to his prom invite, or the real possibility that he inherited the depression gene.

I’m certainly not the first writer to lament that parenting is the emotional equivalent of sandpapering the sh-t out of your heart. All parents come to the terrifying conclusion that these little people could take us down in a way that no one -- no one -- else can. I was safe before the nurslings came, but if anything happens to these milk suckers, I’m ready for my dirt nap.

Metaphorically speaking, as motherhood’s great ball of yarn unravels, it creates both lifeline and noose. But I’m done pocking this page with blubbery words. Finished.

The fact is, if a little earwax fodder makes my psyche weep, I’m not going to survive this.  So, as of today, I’m joining the ranks of the anchor mamas, those who survive heartbreak and even loss, yet stay grounded and strong. I’m lacing up my combat boots. I’m plunking a tiny hard hat atop my heart. I’m going in.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.