Archive for January 27th, 2011

27 Jan 2011

Fear Schmear

18 Comments Family

My son has taken away many of my fears. Fears that I thought were permanently imbedded in my being are all but gone, thanks to my three-year-old boy. This is a benefit of motherhood I was not expecting.

The first fear that I thought I would never lose was my deep, dark, eight-legged fear of spiders. Small, big, black, brown…. It didn’t matter. If it was a spider and I happened to see it, especially if it was crawling, I would break out into a heart-pounding, palm-sweating panic attack.  Seriously.

But something happened the first time Garrett and I saw a spider together. He said it was cute. So I couldn’t kill it. And I couldn’t have a panic attack because then he’d know that I thought spiders were something to fear, instead of something to look at and say, “That’s cute!” So I agreed with him about its utter adorableness and proceeded to save it. I got a plastic cup, a piece of paper, and all of my courage and I took the little bugger outside with a minimum amount of palm sweat.

Since then, I’ve saved at least ten spiders, and I’ve only had one small panic attack which occurred when I saw a HUGE spider, which looked poisonous, hanging out on the door jamb when I was about to walk into the garage. THAT mofo got it’s ass kicked.  Still…

Fear number one: Mostly gone.

My second fear was annoying and inconvenient. The fear of flying. It’s simple, really. Whenever I had to fly anywhere, for anything, I would have severe stomach issues and an inability to sleep. Flying for work? Oof. Stomach pains, gas, possible diarrhea, and nausea. I’d finally get to bed about three hours before I had to wake up, only to lay there staring at the ceiling. When my alarm went off, I’d rush to the bathroom for some more stomach fun and take one of those quick, sad showers where you’re never really standing up straight because you might puke, or faint.

Flying for fun? Only slightly better. All the same symptoms, just a tad less severe. I also have massive packing anxiety, which might be my next post. This anxiety only adds to the stomach problems and sleep issues.  It’s not pretty. And it takes away a lot of my enjoyment of traveling. As a matter of fact, it’s been a major reason for me not wanting to travel much over the years.

Cue the cute, blond boy. Last year, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of work out of town, and doubly fortunate enough to get to take my family along. I wanted it to be a great experience for all of us, and I wanted G’s idea of flying to be that it was fun, wonderful, and the best way to get to anywhere you want to go.

I have found that the best thing to do when I want to show my kid how great everything is, is to pretend everything is great. If it’s pouring outside, it’s THE BEST THING EVER because all of the plants and flowers are finally getting the water they need! If I’m in traffic, it’s THE BEST THING EVER because it gives us more time to look at the sky or listen to songs or talk about dinosaurs. And if I’m on a plane, it’s THE BEST THING EVER because we’re flying up in the sky, above the clouds to get to whatever awesome place we’re going to.  It’s special, and awesome, and people bring us juice and we can open and close the window shades and turn our light off and on. And we can lower our tray table and watch Backyardigan DVD’s!

I pretended that I liked flying. I pretended so well that Garrett believed me. And then this crazy thing happened. I started to believe it, too. And now I still get a tad panicky, but I pretend I don’t. And I don’t have any pooping issues. And I sleep pretty well. And I owe it all to my kid who, by the way, LOVES flying so much it’s INSANE! He even enjoys the whole airport shenanigans, including removing his shoes and jacket to go through security. Yup. He’s made it all much more enjoyable for all of us.

Fear number two: Almost completely gone.

Fear number three: The fear of being silly in public. I used to care what people thought of me when I was out and about in the world. I used to keep my songs inside my head. I’d never skip from the car to the restaurant. I wouldn’t race down the hall of a hotel. And I certainly didn’t blurt out the colors of all the fruits and vegetables at Trader Joes! Now I do all of that and more, without a thought of who’s looking at me or judging me. Garrett has brought out my silly side. I even ran around and around with him in circles at the airport the other day to make the plane come faster. (It totally worked.) And everyone was probably staring. But I didn’t care.

Fear of being silly: GONE GONE GONE.