Fear … and Parenting

firstsnow Oct1012There’s a Canadian comedian, Ron James (link is to his website) who said – and pardon the paraphrase – that you don’t truly understand fear until you’re a parent.

Having become a parent, I couldn’t agree more.

Once, I think my greatest fear was my house burning down. This is thanks to Girl Guides “fire safety” badge where a fireman came in and showed us pre-teens a terrifying movie of a house being burned to the ground in something like under 15 minutes (there was a time-countdown in the corner). Before that video, I knew fire was dangerous, something to be respected, feared, and cautious with. After that video, I had nightmares of watching my house go up in flames – burned to the ground in under 15 minutes.

And then I had the kidlet. And was terrified she’d suffocate in her sleep. That’s she’d poke an eye out with something. That she’ll choke. Or be trapped in a car accident when I’m not there. Or that I’ll die and not be there to save her. All sorts of horrible things. And I thought, the older she got, that the better it would get.

Yeah … NO.

The older she gets, the more risks she takes. The less able I am to mediate that risk and danger, especially the more she ventures into the world. The more possibility there is that something could happen to her in less time than it takes to blink and miss the action. 15 minutes is suddenly looking downright lengthy!

So quickly my evil mind jumps from horrendous possibility to worse, it’s not surprising I’ve developed occasional insomnia. Heck, sometimes I think I’m becoming paranoid.

But strangely, it is this same fear which sometimes helps me mediate my own expectations and emotion. Because other fears – like about never getting published, about being humiliated, about failing – those all still exist. And yes, I remain excessively cautious about fire safety. But I also remember that there are other things that matter a lot more. Like my child. Which means there are some fears that matter a lot more.

And so long as I know my child is safe, all other fear is weak and paltry, right? So what does it take to send a query to Mr. Famous Agent? Or push the envelope with my next book?

I just don’t have the time and energy to be afraid of everything.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

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