Something happened recently that sent me into a tailspin. I knew my reaction was way out of proportion to the experience. I caught a glance of myself and an uptight Mom was reflected back at me. So I dove in to explore what was going on.
My younger son was invited to a sleepover. No big deal, happens all the time. But this time I hesitated to say yes. It was a last minute thing, which always throws me for a loop. I’m much more a planner, so allowing things to happen spontaneously has been a challenge. I was also put on the spot, with both boys invoking their best puppy eyes to get what they wanted.
But that wasn’t enough to merit the inner response I was experiencing. It was as if a huge weight suddenly descended upon me. I felt anxious, sad and upset and what compounded this was my awareness of my overreaction.
I decided to follow the train of thoughts to determine what was really going on. Sometimes when I’m doing this, I write down all my thoughts or I think it through in my mind. This time I was sharing it aloud with my husband. I began to spew out my entire thought process and emotions began to flow.
Before I knew it, I’d hit something that resonated very deeply. There it was staring me right in my face. Something I thought I’d dealt with and healed long ago. Fear. Big, grand, intense, overwhelming fear. Fear that my children are going to die.
I understand that my thought process has no basis in logic. Without going through the whole conversation, I’ll just share that my fear was centered around my son's lack of sleep at the sleepover leading to an accident that would lead to his death during his activities the following day. Intellectually, I get that there are errors in judgment. But going through this process allowed me to uncover these misunderstanding and misinterpretations .
This all hit me hard and I allowed myself a good, long cry. And although the feelings were painful and emotional, I also experienced a sense of relief, knowing I’d uncovered the real issue at hand: There are times that I’m still consumed with fear about losing my children.
I stopped blaming myself for our daughter’s death a long time ago. (See A time for Hope) I was even able to reframe the entire experience and appreciate the opportunities she has offered me. But I guess there’s still an underlying presence of fear- at least most of the time it’s underlying because I’m unaware of it. And I can’t deny the way that her loss has informed so much of how I parent.
This sleepover event allowed me to recognize how prominent the fear has become in my life lately. It’s around every day. When I drop my son off at Musical Theatre and allow him to walk a block from a burger parking lot to the church where they rehearse. When I drop my other son at the gym and hope, with all my might, that I don’t get a call or text that he has been injured. Its. Always. There.
Stealthy little sucker, this fear.
So I decided it was time to do some work around some of the irrational beliefs that were present. I forgave myself for buying into the belief that I have any control over what happens to my children when they’re out of my watch; or any time for that matter. And I reminded myself that my kids are here to experience their own Spiritual curriculum and I cannot be so arrogant to assume I know what’s best for them, ever. Spirt has got them covered. She wraps them in blankets of love and light every day. And they have everything they need to deal with whatever experiences they call forward in their lives. And I will be here to love them through their lives as best I can.
Guess I needed a little tuneup- a reminder of sorts. And I guess that sleepover was just the thing to help me get there.
I let my son go on the sleepover. Everything was fine the next day.
Fear, step aside. I’m good now.