I just started a book, My Year with Eleanor, a memoir about a woman who loses her job and decides to follow Eleanor Roosevelt's advice about doing one thing you fear a day. The book follows her trying to live that for a whole year. This is right up my alley. I love beating my own fears and pushing myself as far as I can go.
As I began reading something odd occurred to me. I will never be able to not live that way again. Parenthood has changed everything. When I discovered my pregnancy I decided to view the whole process that way. The labor and birth will of course be scary, as will my reaction to my child, but then I will be a parent and that is done.
Not so. Parenthood is one steady stream of fear. Obviously his first few weeks into the world were scary, that is to be expected. But the fear never abates. Every time I leave him with someone else it is a little scary. Potty training scares me. The entire age range of 2-4 really does scare me. His school years scare me with all the possible bullying, pain that can be caused by other children, his own personal failures and school shootings. Him traveling anywhere without me. Sleepovers. Snow skiing, river rafting, doing anything physical where he could possibly die. When he begins riding his bike away from me by himself. Driving. College. Getting to the point when I can't reasonably expect to have him check in once a day so I know he is alive, like around 30 or so.
The fact that he exists fills my life with fear. Therefore doing something each day that scares me is really not too tall of an order. In the book the woman resorts to swimming with sharks and skydiving. I simply need to put my child in his crib at night and then leave him for eight hours straight with SIDS creepy over his shoulder.
Thank you Eleanor for making this process seem healthy and fulfilling. At least I am going to start thinking of it that way instead of the highly neurotic way I currently have.