Saturday, October 25, 2014

To fear or not?

As a mama who has two little ones, which means my heart lives outside of my body, there is so much to fear.  The world is full of Ebola, school shootings, kids being snatched.  As a parent it is difficult to live a day without having something that could cause fear to well up inside of you. Then there are the everyday kind of fears like will your kid fall off the monkey bars?  Not doing the monkey bars mind  you but literally fall off the top of the monkey bars?  Since your lil' monkey has decided he must climb & conquer the tallest point of the playground.  Will another kiddo do or say something that will make your kiddo cry or feel bad about themselves?  You fear that until it happens & then your mama-bear instinct kicks in & you hope the perpetrator other child starts to feel the fear (maybe it's just me.)  In this day & age when there is so much reported how are we to respond if moving your family to the Alaskan wild where your biggest concern is where you should relocate your outhouse next spring isn't a possibility?  When actually making your kids live in a real bubble is frowned upon?  How to insulate them from all the negative & how to do so without your own fear being a burden upon their childhood?  How to protect them & allow them to still have some freedom & adventure?  Honestly, sanitizing cart wipes are a necessary evil & I use them every time, but how limiting is it when we can't even walk freely into a grocery store without first stopping & preparing before moving forward.  Not much of an adventure there.  Do kids even get to ride under the cart anymore?  I know I have gotten a look or two when I even just allow my kids to ride holding on to the side of the cart.  Because, you know, they could fall off & be squished.  For the love.

This whole fearful living thing doesn't come naturally to me.  Growing up & in my young adult life I was kind of void of fear.  Spontaneity beckoned me & I typically answered without much thought or concern of what could or couldn't happen.  I hitchhiked, I went on solo trips across country (all with out a cell phone.)  I threw myself off of cliffs into the water below just for the thrill of it.  Now I get nervous & clammy driving over high bridges or when my kids get to close to the edge of a ledge over looking the water below.  Even though said ledge towers above them & there is literally no foreseeable way they could fall in.  Still clammy.  Still sometimes hold onto the hood of my youngest least a sea creature from down below leaps up & decides he'd make a tasty treat.  Okay maybe not that last one so much but you can see how easily it is to ride the train of "what-if's" (no ticket required.) And these are just for the run-of-the-mill fears.  Not the life threatening "what-ifs" about contracting a life-threatening disease or coming into a life-threatening danger just eating lunch in the school cafeteria. It really does make the kid-in-a-bubble thing sound not so bad.

My husband & I constantly go back & forth over whether the times we grew up in (the 70's if you must know) were actually safer than now or whether it's just that we instantly hear all of the bad news right when it happens now.  The statistics would show that things are actually "safer" now but even if that's true it certainty doesn't feel like it.  As a young kiddo myself I would ride my bike miles to the store to get some candy unattended & out of sight.  Fast forward to know & I have no idea when I will be comfortable enough for my sons to ride a bike unattended & out of sight (never.)  The very idea of it sounds preposterous because I know all the possible outcomes of what could go down & yet I'm also supposed to raise them so they will have confidence & be capable to go out into the world on their own.  Speaking to a woman the other day she was telling me how her child starting riding the public bus system all around town by herself by the time she was 10.  She said she didn't want to raise a "tea-cup" child.  Someone who goes off to college or out on their own & breaks because they don't know how to care for themselves.  You guys.  This is a thing.  Teacup parenting.  I thought we only have to be concerned if we were a helicopter or free-range parent but now we can be raising tea-cups that may break too.  For reals. It's too much.

It's all too much.  There is too much to fear & there is too much that could go wrong.  But if we let fear win then we are going to miss out on too much joy. Too much love. Too much spontaneity & too much good. Life is hard enough as it is that we don't need to be saddled down by any additional weight of worry. What is a mama to do other then to spend time on her knees & trust the One who gave her these two who cause her heart to live outside of her body.  Living each day one day at a time.  Not looking too far ahead but rather just soaking up the moment and the gift that it is.  Easier said than done?  Yep.  A little too naive?  Maybe.  But I don't want fear to get an inch more than it deserves.  It has it's place & it is a good emotion to have when say you run into a grizzly bear (say should you relocate to Alaska.)  But day in & day out I want my emotions  to know that I'm in charge.  They can just take a seat & stop running around on me all nilly-willy or is it willy-nilly?  That kid who climbs atop the highest point of the playground?  That is incredibly brave.  These ones we are raising up are going to need all the braveness they can muster.  And maybe it's just me but as far as I can tell they take a lot of their ques from us.  They look to us before they have a reaction.  They cry harder if we gasp when they fall.  They look more triumphant after seeing our smile.  They need to know that we think they got this.   They also need to know that we've got this.  That we will keep showing up.  That we will cry out for the courage & braveness & peace  & love needed to keep the fear it it's place.

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