Fear is a part of being a parent. For most of us, we begin our thoughts with “what if” as soon as we get a positive pregnancy test.
What if I miscarry? What if he/she isn’t healthy?
Then our child arrives and it only gets worse.
What if he/she isn’t eating enough? What if he/she is sleeping too much?
The older our children get, the more complex our thoughts become.
This is a natural part of parenting. Toss in the stories we hear in the media and the fear intensifies.
Children abducted. Children shot in school. Children abused and assaulted.
These things happen to children all the time. The statistics are frightening. That alone is enough to make me a neurotic mess! But there is more to it, for me.
March 2, 2013.
That is the date circling my mind. That is the date that makes my stomach twist.
On March 2, 2013; my youngest daughter will be two years, three months, two weeks and three days old.
The day they took Baby J out of my arms, she was two years, three months, two weeks and three days old.
It’s not the same. I know it’s not the same. But it is.
Ash and I were talking about Baby J awhile ago. She looked at Bug and tears filled her eyes. “I just can’t imagine.” she said.
How many times have you heard about a horrible situation and stated, “I just can’t imagine!” It’s the natural reaction we hear time and time again.
That’s my problem. I can.
I can imagine my child going missing.
I can imagine her drowning.
I can imagine an illness taking her life.
I can imagine someone stealing her right out of my arms.
I can imagine it because I was the mom people “couldn’t imagine” being and it affects how I parent Bug.
We do. not. take. our. eyes. off. our. child. in. public. Ever.
We trust her with very few people and we have never had anyone take her anywhere. She is watched at one of her two grandparents’ homes or our friends’. We drop her off and pick her up, safe knowing she isn’t going anywhere.
You know those child drop off spots at grocery stores and YMCAs? She’s never been to one.
Whenever we are in public, I think. I take in the surroundings, note the exits and take it all in. If I happen to use the facilities, I will note whether or not the bathroom locks from the inside.
I watch people come and go. I mean, I really watch them.
I do it to prepare.
If someone were to grab her, where could they go? If someone pulls a gun, where would we go? Where would we hide?
This makes sense to me, on a catastrophic level. I respect that horrible things occur out of our control. But on a day-to-day basis, I’m sure I sound insane.
I have seen the dark side of life. Thanks to Sandy Hook, we all have.
I have stood in a courtroom while a judge revoked my parental rights to my son. I stood completely alone while my parents, his father, his stepmother and various others hugged, celebrated and (literally) high fived my broken heart.
I have raised a child for over two years and watched as she was carried out of my home. I didn’t see her for another two years.
And here I am. Raising a little girl in a dark, scary world. But I don’t want her to view the world as a dark, scary place. I want her to be smart, but I want her to feel safe and secure.
So I let her down and give her freedom. I keep her in view as she explores and discovers the world around her.
I protect her, but I am careful not to over protect her.
I live with a slew of “what if” questions, but I also wonder “Can I?”
Can I put her on a bus and send her to school?
Can I send her to school at all?
When will she be old enough for me to be okay with her walking down the block on her own?
When will I be okay without my eyes on her?
How will I prevent my issues from becoming her issues?
These are my thoughts. These are my fears. Obviously, I have more questions than answers, but don’t we all?
We are all trying to do the best for our children. The hard part is knowing what the best IS.
What are your biggest parenting fears?