I remember lying in my bed as a kid, covers tucked up to my chin looking down over my feet as I tried hard to be brave.
The darkness scared me already, but the thunder roaring outside my walls and the lightning flashing through my windows were fear just getting an extra laugh. I’d give myself a mental pep talk that *this* was going to be the night when I didn’t retreat to my mom’s room for comfort. I’d brave it out.
But one loud crack of the thunder, I’d throw off the covers, speed-walk down the hallway, and tap her on the shoulder before she’d without-hesitation open up the covers and hold me in my safe space where the thunder didn’t seem so loud and the lightning not as scary.
I loved how safe she made me feel, and how she never turned me away or tried to talk me out of my worry.
My oldest kiddo has a similar fear of storms, but even more so of the dark.
Recently, she talked to me about the fear, and I told her that same story of when I was a kid and how my mommy always made me feel better. I had told her that same story a dozen times, but I knew she liked it because it made her fear feel “normal” and like she was understood.
But then she asked me a question she hadn’t in those dozen times before.
“Mommy … what are you afraid of now that you aren’t a kid?”
As I tried to buy time to figure out my answer, I said to her, “That’s a big question, honey!” I went on to tell her the easy answer that I am afraid of snakes and that daddy can sometimes be afraid of heights … both answer she already knew.
But in my mind, my thoughts swirled.
What I wanted to tell her was that I was afraid of a lot of things; that my often my mind feels like I’m walking around with the covers pulled up to my chin, eyes out just enough to see what’s going on and just *hoping* I could be brave this time.
Because I AM scared of a lot.
I’m scared of what the world might do to my kids.
I’m scared of what the world might do to me.
I’m scared of never reaching my goals and getting to the end of my life wishing I’d tried harder.
I’m scared of the parenting decisions I will have to continue to make.
I’m scared of bad things happening and can often get really good at imagining what those things could be.
And I’m still scared of the dark sometimes, too.
But as I laid there with her, I knew I wasn’t ready to tell her all of those things. It would make sense to one day, but right then… I just wanted to focus on being her safe space. Because as she fell asleep in my arms, she felt like my safe space too. All of MY fears seemed to take a rest, and for a minute I felt present.
For a minute I wasn’t thinking about the “could happens” and just simply sat in the comfort of this mothering moment. For a minute both of our sets fears lost the constant battle for the space in the front of our minds.
Peace won this time.
And for a minute the only thing I was afraid of … was letting fear make me miss out on being present during moments like this in the future.