Saturday, November 1, 2008

A kid's eye view

Sometimes, a child can put everything in perspective for you. My husband always takes my daughter out for Halloween, and I stay home and hand out the candy. Last night, when they stopped in midway through the scavenge, my daughter seemed upset, which she confirmed by wrapping herself around me and holding on tight. Seems there was a particularly scary house that my husband thought would be fine to take our 3 year old to, and it scared her witless.

I picked her up and hugged her for a few minutes, and when I put her back down, she asked me to take her out for the rest of the night "because mommy isn't afraid of anything."

To say I was gobsmacked is an gross understatement. You see, mommy is afraid of many things. In fact, mommy is afraid of almost everything. Spiders, bees, wasps, thunderstorms, being without work, (these days) the number on the scale, snowstorms, scary movies, what's living in the back of the fridge, singing the wrong note, acceptance of my writing, cellulite, grey hair, idiots who drive while talking on cell phones, cancer stealing someone ELSE I love...mommy is afraid of many things. I guess I've just become better at hiding my fear than I thought.

My mother is afraid of many things too. My earliest memories were of being dragged to the basement in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm. I grew up terrified of thunderstorms (and being caught in the woods during a particularly gnarly one didn't help things.) My husband LOVES thunderstorms, so I told him from the beginning that if Vampira woke up in the middle of the night in a storm, that he would have to go to her, because I didn't want to make her afraid just because I was. So far, she's never wakened in a thunderstorm and doesn't seem to mind them. So far, so good.

I grew up being taught to worry about what people think-that people's opinions, especially the family's, matter. It took me until 40 to realize that while it is true that how you are perceived in the world matters to a certain extent, going against what you believe matters more. I'm a bit of an enigma in my family, but that's okay. I decided that I was not going to live the second part of my life the way I lived the first half, and I'm trying to be more true to myself and my beliefs now. I'm happier. Some of the family don't get it, but it doesn't matter anyway. I get it, and I can live with myself. I'm trying to live without fear. Some days go better than others.

For my daughter to think that mommy is fearless was a boost for me. My daughter and I headed out hand in hand to complete the trick or treat circuit. We had to go by the scary house. I told her that we were going to sing "la la la la, you can't scare me." while we walked past. We did. It worked. When we passed the scary house on the way back, my daughter roared at it. She's learning not to be scared. She still clung to my hand, but she walked a little taller.

There are many things in life that will be scary for her. The trick is knowing how to roar at the fear. My daughter taught me some things last night. I have some roaring of my own to do-at building my website-ROAR. At going back to finish the YA novel I started and then let the opinions of others scare me off-ROAR. At making a real effort to market myself to find new business-ROAR. And to all the of the petty insecurities that have plagued me my whole life I say "La, La LA LA. YOU CAN'T SCARE ME." If it worked for scary houses, it should work for taking advantage of new opportunities. so ROAR ROAR ROAR...and I should trust my daughter. She's a smart kid.


Atlantic Writer said...

Be proud of yourself brave mamma. Raising a child secure in herself is a hard... and scary job. You set a good example facing your own fears.

Divawrites said...

Thanks Atlantic Writer Megan. It's hard to face 45 years of fear and insecurity...but now is as good a time as any!