In a riff on my normal Friday Feature Five Things I Think I Think, I'm joining Theresa from InspirationCOOPERATIVE and a slew of others discussing Things I Fear, or perhaps more simply, Things About Me. Theresea has linked to the other posts on this topic, and I hope you'll check them out. I know I will.
1. I fear heights. :) I thought I'd start out going easy on myself. Growing up, my dad had "A Fear Of Heights," (Maybe we'll do a five things about my family next! Who's on board?!) but it was not really anything I thought about much. I'm not sure what my first experience was when I knew how uncomfortable I was in high spaces (And I can pretty much handle glass elevators and gorgeous vistas from penthouse hotel rooms! As long as no one leans on the window...), what I remember first is climbing a lighthouse on Cape Henlopen in Delaware with Neel. It was the combination of the sprial staircase (don't like those no matter how high), those funky metal grate steps with no risers and then, the height. Church spire in Munich and most recently another lighthouse in Hatteras, North Carolina. That one, in North Carolina, was my ah-ha moment. That this is a physiological thing. I can talk myself into climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (it's gorgeous), but people, I can't do. it. At the Hatteras Light, the steps go up in stages, each stage about 10 steps. I made a stage and a half and said to Neel and Callum, "Guys. I'm going down." Neel was great. He asked if I needed him to walk me down, and breezily I said, "Oh no, go on! I'll be fine." I was not fine. After that, I knew. And it's okay. While I waited for Neel and Callum to come back down (and tried not to think of them on that teeny tiny walkway at the top of the light, I chatted with a dad whose entire family was climbing the light without him. Same as me, he wanted his feet on the ground. Same as me, hyperventilating and sweating and rapid heartbeat. But it's okay.
2. I fear I am in a parenting crisis. It's been a hard year. There's not a lot I want or feel I can say about this because I want to respect Cal's privacy and ours as a family, but first off, he's fine, we're fine. Nothing is wrong. So worry not about that. But this year has been hands-down the most intense and challenging that we have faced as a family. The hardest since he was an infant, and let me tell you, (Mark knows just what I'm going to say here...) his infancy nearly killed me. Killed my self-esteem, killed my confidence, killed my sense of identiy. It's not like that now exactly, but since we figured things out together in those early days of his infancy, I've always really trusted myself as a mom. Now, not as much. What I'm trying to trust is that I've always been able to figure out how to parent this child of mine, and that I'll figure this stuff out too. It's been a hard year.
3. All that being said, I fear the loss of parenting. Having just one child was a deliberate decision on our parts, and we have a great vibe as a family. It's what works for us. But as Callum grows in to this wonderful young man that I see him becoming, I grieve the loss of the smaller child that he was. No. That's not right. I don't grieve his growing up as much as the fact that that sort of parenting is done for me. The sort that sat and built Legos for hours, and watched Kipper, and taught him things like "This is an apple." I should also say that I recognize that I have loads and loads of parenting ahead of me. But things are clearly changing. The kind of parenting I'm doing is changing. We all feel it acutely, his growing up, and it brings me great delight. But there's loss too.
4. I fear loneliness. When I was a kid I would go to the mall and hang out at Waldenbooks. (dork alert) One of my favorite books was this big floppy paperback that described people based on their name. The definition for Lauren read: Lauren likes her independence, but she doesn’t want to be on her own. That feels like such an apt descrption for me! I do love alone time. I love being on my own, alone with my thoughts or having the space to just be. Be in my house or in some space on my own. I work on my own, and I'm totally fine with being that way. But I don’t want to be alone. Left out. Not a part of things. There’s a difference. Maybe left out really is more the sense I’m trying to get at. Feeling left out, even if there’s a perfectly reasonable reason for it, makes me edgy and sad. Where did I go wrong? Even if I know it has nothing to do with me. Loneliness is different, I think, than being alone. Is that a song?
5. I fear that I'm not the woman I want to be. I will admit that I have flashes of brilliance, but I don't work as hard at it as I should. I'm not mindful enough, my feelings get hurt too easily, I hold grudges, I can be too judgemental, and I love french fries. I recognize that this old life of mine is a work in progress, but I wonder if I'll ever move beyond those flashes of brilliance into feeling settled and okay with me being me.
Okay. Did it! The hardest part was when my screen went blank, and I thought I'd lost 1-3! All is good though, and thank you (I think!) Theresa, for this amazing, challenging experience. Remember, check out InspirationCOOPERATIVE for more inspiring, thought provoking blog posts.
Happy Weekend, my dears.