Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fear ye, oh fear ye

The other day the whole family packed up and headed into Port Angeles and Sequim for a day of crabbing, shrimping and oyster shucking... Jason, brave and awesome dad that he is, held the sole honor of shucking, since I had Leilee in the Napsack and Connor and Grady are much too young to wield oyster shuckers. Jason also had the cool dad idea of packing the kids' bikes in the back of the truck and letting them ride on the pier. We brought helmets because I said it was the law.

Now, some of you may think, 'Wow, how adventurous!' It's true, it is adventurous. But we embark on excursions like this all the time. Jason is a brave and bold outdoorsman. He hunts and fishes and scouts and forages all day long. If I didn't know him better and he had a longer beard, I would think he was a mountain man. So, like any good mountain dad, he wants to raise his sons (and daughter) to be mountain children. I'm all for that. Definitely... besides my uncontrollable urges to WORRY about every little thing they do.

Take for example, the dangers of riding a bike. It's like, so dangerous. Now, I know I'm not post-partum here, ok, well, I AM, but not like "depressed" post partum. I am just a worry-wart mother. There is something about motherhood that flicks a switch in your brain that allows your imagination to create potentially fatal or life changing disasters out of something as simple as teaching your child to tie their shoe. "Are you sure he's old enough? What if he is strangled? Or what if he ties it too tight and we don't notice and he cuts off circulation and loses his foot?" You get the picture.

So, I usually keep all these wild fears locked tight in my mind and silently make fun of my own self immediately after they pop in to my mind. This doesn't ease my pain in the least.

Back to the bikes... Jason let them ride their bikes from the parking lot of the pier onto the pier. I was SO NERVOUS!! Jason has clued into my paranoia, although I don't think he even knows quite how bad it is. I controlled, okay internally battled, the urge to yell for them to stop or slow down every time I couldn't reach out and touch them. I stayed calm on the pier because there are rails. Although I could totally see them ramming their front tire on a loose pier board and launching head first over their handlebars, over the four foot railing and out to sea. But I didn't tell Jason about that fear.

Then, while we were waiting for the second round of dumb little shrimp to swim into the trap after oily tuna, we walked along the beach front trail and let the kids ride ahead of us (yikes!!). During that time, I decided that I needed to make fun of myself out loud, to let Jason know about my internal battle. He wanted to know what "could possibly happen", so I listed them.

1) Tsunami. SO unpredictable. Swoosh - that's it.
2) Earthquake. It's hard to run after your kids on their bike when the earth starts shaking.
3) Earthquake followed by tsunami. Totally real - that's what happens on the shore. Earthquake first, tsunami second. Natural disasters you cannot predict or control. If ou could that would be a whole separate issue.
4) Drug dealers. There were some pretty sketchy teens - with weird hair and clothes. They looked at our kids in their helmets with odd expressions on their faces. One of them got too close. I think they could have easily tried to sell them coke. It only takes being more than a 20 yards from your mom before you start to want to experiment with illicit substances.
5) Rabid dogs. Some of those people walking with their pets didn't have a very good hold on their leashes. I also thought I saw some foaming action on the miniature schnauzer. Totally possible. He would've gone right for their ankles.
6) Man-eating shark leaps over pier, snatches my kids and their bikes and splashes right back into the water.
By the time I got to the sixth totally possible scenario, Jason was a little glassy-eyed. I knew he had had no idea of the depths of my sickness.

The day went well. We caught 50 some odd shrimp, filled our limit on oysters and got a nice Dungeness crab. What a haul. The only person who got hurt was Jason. He scratched his arm either with an oyster or the shucker - not sure. He didn't even acknowledge me when I commented on the gash in his arm.

The point of all of this, I think, is that I fear too much. I know it is normal for moms to worry. I know some of us are blessed with vivid imaginations and cursed with little to no concept of reality. But, I think, to some degree, I need to spend more time searching the Bible for references to fear. Oh, like Psalm 23 - "The Lord is my shepherd, la la, la la." Most of us learned it in Sunday School... OR Psalm 27 - "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"

David had some pretty screwed up life circumstances. Some, he brought on himself; others, not so much. And even he, who God used to kill Goliath, spent a good deal of his life frightened and hiding in caves. Elijah did the same thing. I don't want my boys to have to be frightened and hiding in a cave, ever. But I do want them to know that God will be with them, regardless of where they are or what their circumstance. I am the one who has to model that peace and security to them. Jason does already.

So, in between my internal panic attacks and forcing a calm demeanor whenever the kids run outside to play... I am going to start praying that God will help me to be a little less crazy and a little more sane, a little less fearful and a little more trusting.

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