Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Faith Over Fear

I am not a person who loves her some adventure. In fact, I am quite the opposite. Most days I simply struggle not to live in fear. It doesn't take much to get my mind headed down the path of worst case scenario. And it has always been this way for me. When I was a child, the same age that my Emma is now, I was afraid of the wind. Yes, sirree. I was. I feared that a big gust of wind would come along and blow off all of my hair. And who wouldn't fear being hairless? So my solution was to wear a windbreaker. ALL. OF. THE. TIME. Makes perfect sense, right? I would put that baby on, zip it up tight, and then pull the hood up making sure all strands of hair were secure. And that is how I rolled. The funny thing was that we lived in Saudi Arabia, where it was always hot, and where wind seldom blew. Unless there was a dust storm. But that was different. Because I didn't fear dust. I feared wind. And while I have outgrown the need to continuously wear windbreakers (seeing as they are not the latest fashion), ceiling fans have still been known to make this mama tremble.

I would like to say that as I grew, my fears lessened, but that is not the case. In fact, they intensified. Turns out having children is not good for a woman of worry. Who knew? And so far I've had three, so my worry has tripled. But I have found as I have aged that I now fear much more mature and practical things. Like elevators. And amusement park rides. (Just thinking of my babies whirling through the air on the swings, THE SWINGS!, is enough to send me over the edge.) When I was in hard labor with Kate, contractions coming every two minutes and nearly fully dilated, I climbed eight flights of stairs to reach the delivery floor. Eight. Because I was not getting in the elevator. And when the nurse said we could not enter through the locked stairwell for security purposes , I threatened to have my baby right there on that landing. And I meant it, too. Did she think I was kidding? She decided to let me in. And thank goodness she did! Having my daughter in the stairwell was not what I had dreamed of. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Sometimes (translate often) I fear diseases. Once, on Boss' thirtieth birthday to be exact, I was sure that I had leukemia. In fact, I was positive that my end was near. So we spent Boss' birthday in the ER. Turns out I did not have leukemia. Just a common case of the crazies. My thirtieth birthday is right around the corner. Boss keeps asking me where I want my party. Bethesda North Hospital? Or is Mercy Anderson more my style? He kids, he kids. I hope.

Some of the first words that Emma strung together as a two year old were blood pressure. Although it came out sounding more like bluh plethure. That story doesn't really need an explanation, although if you must know, it involved me walking around with a blood pressure cuff attached to my arm for months. Though not in public of course. Because that would be weird.

Once my super wise doctor suggested that I carry around a brown paper sack and whenever I felt anxious, he wanted me to breathe slowly and deeply into it. What he did not realize was that my sack would need eye holes. Because if I was to breathe into a sack every single time I felt anxious, then it might as well have been a permanent fixture on my head. Can you imagine my children introducing me to their friends? This is my mom. Don't mind her, she likes wearing a grocery sack on her head, thank you very much. Thank goodness we home school. At least there wouldn't have been as many friends to worry about! Bwahahaha! But seriously, the sack idea did not turn out to be golden.

Instead, I have learned ways around my fears. I joke about them with friends. It turns out laughter makes anything more bearable. And if I have to take an elevator at a hospital, I make sure that I ride with a doctor. That way, if I have a heart attack, he can bring me back to life. Sometimes, though, I have to put on my big girl panties and just do it. Whatever it is I have to do to face my fears. Because I am a Mama, and my children are watching me. And I don't want them to grow up fearing life the same way that I have. I love that so far they are brave. My girls love amusement parks! They love flying through the air, around and around. And my Jack? He is a serious sprinkler dude. He isn't scared. He just dives right in, mouth open wide, ready to embrace it all. And this, this is what I want for them!

To look fear in the face, and to overcome. To trump fear, with faith.

It's what I want for myself, too. As I approach my thirtieth year, what I want more than anything is to begin to live life without fear. I want to go on adventures! I want to explore life with my children. I want to be brave enough to dive right in with my mouth open wide, ready to embrace it all. Whatever comes. Next week my family is going to Disney World, and I figure I will get plenty of opportunity to put this new faith over fear living into action. I just might be the only grown up on the Dumbo ride with her eyes squeezed shut, holding tightly to her squealing five year old, but by golly, I will be on it! And I know it will be amazing. Because adventures usually are.