Fear won’t limit me

Once again I’m having a hard time figuring out what to write about this week. Should I go with the very uncomfortable exchange I had with my two daughters about puberty, or perhaps my family’s experience at the food pantry? Maybe I should share with you the surprising way people have reacted to the news that I’ll be traveling to North Africa this summer. It seems a hodgepodge of topics, but I think I can lump them altogether under one heading: Fear of the Unknown. Let’s go with it.

First up, periods. They scared me when I was a teen, and they scare me as a mother. How will my girls handle it? With embarrassment? Grace? Excitement? I’m encouraged by a conversation this weekend. My oldest casually mentioned that a friend of hers has “started” and then went into a very detailed explanation of her ordeal. As I was blushing and trying desperately to change topics, she proceeded to engage her younger sister in a debate over tampons versus pads. How sad I would have been to have missed that!

Next, volunteering. This is the first time I’ve forced my kids to volunteer, and, of course, they complained the entire drive to the food pantry. I thought, if these children are rude, selfish, or just plain brats, even Jesus won’t be able to save them from my wrath. I almost turned around, but it’s Lent, darn it, and my kids need to do something for someone else for a change. To my surprise, not only were they polite, enthusiastic, and compassionate, but they actually enjoyed helping. When we left, they wanted to know when we could volunteer again. Very interesting.

Finally, I won a teaching grant to study in Morocco, Egypt and Turkey this June. I am terrified. And what’s making my fear worse is the way people respond when I tell them where I’m going. “But, what about the terrorists?” is pretty par for the course. Why are we all so afraid? I’m convinced it’s because we know so little about these cultures. To wit, my Facebook friends who have actually travelled to these countries, say, “I’m so jealous!” and “You’ll love the people!”

Do I lie awake wondering whether I’ll be kidnapped in Cairo?  Almost every night. Am I worried that my kids will grow up to be selfish, arrogant dillholes? Sometimes, yes. And am I concerned that my daughters will have a rough transition to womanhood? Definitely. But, I don’t want to be that person who deprives herself of new experiences and relationships because she can’t predict the future. Bottom line, it’s OK to fear the unknown, as long as that fear doesn’t limit you. Peace out.