Friday, August 6, 2010

Fear Facing

The little vole ran across the porch in front of us. I looked. I laughed. I held fast. What's up with that?

Something has happened to me over the last couple of years. I'm not so sure how it happened but would equate this change to time spent with my granddaughters. Or, it could be age and lack of ability to scream and run as quickly as I could some years ago. Yes, something has happened.

I have, er, had and bone chilling fear of rodents and snakes. Growing up on a farm, you would assume that these critters wouldn't bother me. Yet, fear has often shaken me to the point of hysteria.

A couple of years ago on a family trip to Disneyland, my son had herded me away from the Peter Pan ride. It was night time and one of the best times to go on the rides. We had not wanted to fight the long lines at one of our favorite rides but were determined to go on it before we left the park.

"Why are we leaving?" I asked.

"They said they were closing the ride," lied my son as we removed ourselves from the line.

Our dash from the ride was explained. "Mom, there were mice running all over the area next to us."

I couldn't complain. Mice sent me into panic. There was no reason for Grammy to scare the granddaughters. Good thinking, son.

A baby snake laid in front of us. My son grabbed a bag, placing it over the snake firmly stomping on it as I yelled, "Stop, I'll move it."

"What's happened to you?" he asked looking at me as if I were an alien. I'm asking the same. 'What's happened to me?'

We attended the school science fair. My daughter refused to visit the reptile exhibit that has always been part of the event. Striving to overcome my dislike of the slithering things, I took my granddaughters into the exhibit showing them each reptile, using positive responses to overcome their fears. "Come on, pet the snake. See, it feels like silk." Year one, neither one of the girls would touch the snake. Five years later, we all pet the snake.

Last night a little vole ran across the porch on which my friend and I stood. It was actually a cute little thing but startling as it dashed between the feet of those waiting access to the theatre. My friend had a slight moment of fear and panic. I just laughed and calming her fears.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?!?!? WHERE DID THIS NEW ME COME FROM?!?!?

I assume it came from pushing away my fears so that my granddaughters would not go through life experiencing the sheer terror that I have always felt in startling encounters. It came about from observing nature instead of fearing it. The girls now face their fear of spiders. They know that there are snakes in all yards, nature areas and that they will not hurt them. They know that mice will still startle us but not eat us. I do not want my fears to be theirs. We are learning together to be strong. To recognize those spiders and snakes which are dangerous. To control fears instead of allowing the fears to control us.

Wow. Growing and learning together. It's the best.

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