There's not a parent in the world who wouldn't have said – or at least thought – that they'd give their life for their child. It really goes without saying, such is the love between parent and child.
I've never been tested on this and I hope that is the case for the rest of my life. But I was tested in another, less intense way last week and it has me questioning everything I thought I knew about myself as a mother.
It was one of those mornings where everything goes wrong. I had our second photo shoot for my 'By Erin' baby range - logistics aren't my strength so organising everything and being the contact person for that was stressful!
Plus I had forgotten to organise snacks and knew I wouldn't have time in the morning between dropping Eliza off at pre-school and getting to the shoot on time.
So I ordered snacks and drinks from the servo to be delivered the night before – which they did – in those brown paper bags.
The next morning I made my way down the million steps from our apartment to the garaged carrying two paper bags (one filled with 10 cans of soft drink, the other with chips), a wicker basket overflowing with props for the shoot, two blankets, three pillows, Eliza's backpack, water bottle, 'Emma Wiggle' (the doll version thanks goodness), 'Baby', 'Bunny', 'Barbie' and Eliza.
As we reached the concrete landing where the garage door is the bottom of one of the paper bags split open (the bloody condensation from the drinks the night before!) and 10 cans went flying!
They hit the wall, then the floor. Two exploded and started shooting soft drink everywhere with a voracity and level of viciousness you'd find hard to believe.
This where instinct comes in. Maternal instinct. Preservation of child, right? Wrong! Without even thinking I leapt up the stairs … solo, to try to preserve my hair.
As I did, I looked back and the image will haunt me forever. There she was, my two-year-old, on the landing in the middle of the 'attack'.
Her beautiful, innocent face plastered with shock and fear, screaming for help. Not knowing what the hell was going on, genuinely traumatised and terrified. I leapt back down and scooped her up and she was totally fine within about 10 seconds and giggled madly for the whole trip to preschool.
But I wasn't laughing. Who was I? What kind of mother leaps to protect herself (hair) instead of first grabbing the little person I grew for nine months in my belly and then birthed?
My friend Mark Levy did point out to me that they do get you to put your mask on before your child's on an aeroplane in the event of an emergency. I am clinging to that like no tomorrow as a way of justifying my actions and lessening the extra 'mum guilt' I really don't need.
I'd like to think when it really matters my initial reaction and instincts will be different. Until then I'll just admire my dry and bouncy hair in the photos we took and continue to comfort Eliza every time someone opens a can in her presence and she jumps a country mile.
There are worse things to be traumatised by, right?