My daughter is much braver than me. One of the things I try not to do as a parent is project my fears onto my kids. I don't want them to be afraid. I can't protect them from fear. Fear can be paralyzing. I am scared of many things - storms, snakes, the dentist, walking into an unknown situation - to name a few. These aren't the 'big things" in life but I have those fears too. Laci still isn't afraid of much. She says she is afraid of the dark but I don't think she really is. That fear didn't show up until we read The Berenstain Bears Afraid of the Dark. She says she is afraid when I take her to school but I think that is just because she doesn't want me to leave.
I have a paralyzing fear of storms. I feel like I am going to hyperventilate and spend the hours leading up to a storm glued to a radar. The other night, I was home overnight alone with the kids with a big storm brewing. At 10, both kids were crying and screaming and the tornado sirens were going off. I tried to be as calm as I could because I don't want her to have fears just because I do. I tucked Calvin in bed and made Laci sleep with me. She sat and watched the radar while I pointed out the pretty colors. I didn't want her to know that we were watching the radar because I was scared. I realized as I was falling asleep holding my sleeping girl's hand that I wasn't protecting her, she was protecting me. She wasn't scared. She slept soundly while I laid awake listening to the house creak wondering if the tornado sirens would go off. The next day, she told Charlie that she slept with me because she was scared. But I knew that wasn't true.
Yesterday, I took Laci to the dentist. This is one of my least favorite things to do. Getting a cavity filled is the worst and I dread the dentist. Laci had to have a cavity filled. It was a teeny tiny cavity and the dentist didn't even have to give her a shot. She was so excited because in the Berenstain Bears Go to the Dentist, Brother Bear gets a cavity filled. We read a lot of Berenstain Bears at our house. The first visit went so well that I wasn't sure how the second visit would go. I almost warned her that it might hurt. I had that sense of dread as we were walking into the dentists office. I cringed and almost cried when I heard the little drill instruments clean out the cavity. But I also smiled with pride as I watched my little girl sit there patiently with her mouth wide open. She was so brave. Her feet wiggled a little bit and that was the only indication anything was bothering her. On the way home, I asked her how it was. She said it was fine - it hurt a little bit and she didn't like the fire in her mouth but that was it. I would have been crying. I am so glad that the experience went well for her.
This week reminded me that being a parent means I have to grow up and be brave - just like her.