I was probably about 16 or 17 when my Mom took us to Niagara Falls for a long weekend. Being a foreigner, our family vacations often centered around famous landmarks, as she enjoyed learning about the United States. We were excited about our trip, and upon arriving, we discovered an issue that I’m pretty sure Mom hadn’t considered when she planned it- the height. For those of you that have been there, you know what I’m talking about. The sheer enormity of the most powerful waterfall in North America, over 165 feet of water crashing over our international border- and Mom was afraid of heights.
She wouldn’t approach a single railing to look out at the beautiful vista. She clung to my little sister in fear of her falling to her death, and my brother and I were constantly admonished to “be careful!”. She was nearly in tears on several occasions, and what did I do? Sat on those railings with a big smile, and a wave. “C’mon, Mom! It’s fine,” I’d tease, “there’s nothing to worry about!”. When I finally saw that she was truly freaking out, I stopped and talked to her about it. She told me that she never had this fear until she became a Mom, and she couldn’t help it. I stopped teasing after that, and she reluctantly agreed to let my brother and I go on the hikes and tours, while she waited behind with my sister. I think they ate a lot of ice cream while we were gone.
Looking back, I remember thinking how silly she was being. I probably could have been a little nicer about it, but I wasn’t capable of comprehending her fear at the time. Well, boy, do I get it now! The acrophobia? Check! Fear of carrying my infant down the stairs? Check! Fear of holding him in the kitchen because there’s a concrete floor? Check! Fear of walking to the restaurant down the street for brunch because the road gets so narrow and people drive a million miles an hour while texting and putting on makeup and aren’t looking while they’re driving? Check! I could go on, but I’m pretty sure you get it. It can almost be debilitating, yet you know you have to push forward. Can’t live in a bubble, right?
So please share with me- what scares you now that you’re a parent?