Sometimes, the list-makers and project doers of the world are kind of like the baloney sandwiches in the deli of life.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Baloney sandwiches are staples. And Lord knows we need staples. Staples stand for stability and the very stuff that keeps the earth spinning on an axis and not into the ether.
Thing is, Dana, author of Kiss My List blog, is a list-maker. A project do-er.
But she also got a cup and a half of that bold, disruptive spice that puts a lot of color in bland spreadsheets. She’s like that grab-bag of toys at the dollar store, only the surprise you get when you rip open the staples isn’t busted pieces of dollar-store toys no one wanted to buy in the light of day.
It’s a gem.
She’s the Broadway nerd that doesn’t just blog about Broadway – she tells you how life would work if it were a Broadway play. She’s puffy vest and long-sleeved chic mama look, but also Ray Bans with a black dress kind of girl.
Today, she’s shown her poignant, reflective side as she tells us her greatest fears of motherhood. Dana said she probably wouldn’t have written on this had I not asked her to for Coach Daddy.
I suspect she would have, though. I’d even bet a sandwich on it.
And I don’t mean baloney.
Welcome Dana today, and be sure to check out her blog, too.
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When I was pregnant with my second child, I bought a piece of wall art with the quote:
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone
How true. I have two hearts outside of my body, and they have made the one beneath my rib cage larger and fuller. They’ve also made my hips and abs fuller, but that’s not where I’m going with this.
The world is a big place. It can be a dangerous place. And I can’t protect those hearts with a rib cage and skin, or with exercise and healthy eating. Those hearts are vulnerable, and they make my inside heart more vulnerable too.
Like most mothers, I worry about my kids.
I have generalized fears such as health and safety. I have smaller worries like school performance and peer relationships. My heart can handle these worries, but there are some fears that I just cannot visit. The death of my child is one of those, and I won’t give that fear any more thought than this sentence. I lock it up, and focus on the smaller worries that I may have some control over.
My mind protects itself; it doesn’t often let the fear go deep. I will not let myself be swallowed by it; I will not let fear take precedence over living. Yet every so often, when my mind relaxes a bit, the fear burrows in and squeezes my heart.
Besides the fear that will not be mentioned again, these are three of my deepest fears as a mom.
1. A fear of doing everything right, but it still won’t be enough. Not every kid who gets involved with drugs and alcohol comes from a dysfunctional home or has negligent parents. Mental illness affects even picture perfect families. We raise them as best we can, but the rest is up to them. Even more frightening are the parts that aren’t up to them. No matter how tightly I have hugged my children and loved them and nurtured them, I have to relinquish control to them and to life. That lack of control fuels my fear.
2. A less intense but more amorphous fear of my children growing up. They need me less and less every year, and in less than three years my oldest will go off to college. I won’t see her everyday; I won’t know what she’s wearing or eating for dinner, or who she’s spending time with. This child who I nursed, diapered, fed and raised for eighteen years will no longer be present in my daily life. That simultaneously terrifies me and brings me to tears. How will I release my heart into the world? Will she come back to me?
3. That unanswered question brings me to my third fear. Once my children are independent adults (please be Independent, that’s fear 3.5), what will our relationship be like? Will they want to spend time with me, or will visits with Mom be a chore to be tolerated? And then spouses enter the mix, specifically with my son – will he marry a woman who supports his relationship with his parents? I would like to believe he would not marry someone who doesn’t love his family, but I’ve seen it happen, and it scares me.
There. I’ve acknowledged my fears, and given them a voice. I may revisit them from time to time, but I will not let their voice be the loudest one in my head. I will not let them crowd out the I love yous and the laughter. I will not let them steal any of my time spent with my outside hearts.