I read somewhere once that FEAR stands for "False Evidence Appearing Real". I have to agree with that, in retrospect, that is. But when you are lying on your bed, staring at the ceiling, heart pounding at the very thought of that awful thing you fear so much, the evidence you dig up from the recesses of your mind seem anything but false…. You know what I mean, right?
I have a 2 year old daughter. I should stop right here, and let you make the obvious connections with FEAR, and fear in general. But, I love to talk about my fears, and so I will.
When Debbie was born, she was barely 5.5lb, tiny and fragile, her wail almost a squeak. Now, although she is still tiny for her age (only 22lb when she should be 27lb, and I get my share of flack about it from busybodies of all descriptions. In my defense I would like to state, both my doctor and this website claim this is quite normal.), she is growing up to be a source of admiration, jaw-dropping disbelief, and pure joy for my husband and me, every moment!
She is a lovely, delightful little girl! She runs around making shrieking noises when I try to make her eat food. She throws a healthy tantrum (the habit isn’t, but the gusto of the display certainly is!) when she is refused ANYTHING, yes, even the flames on the stove burner (?!?!?!) She sings non-stop (ie. When she is not shrieking or throwing a tantrum). In fact she can sing the entire alphabet song, even the last bit (“Now I know my ABCs…etc.), a couple of rhymes, can count till 10 in a random order (!), and recite a couple of Bible verses… *I’m on a roll here, aren’t I… ;-]… and you say “Mmhmm…keep going…”* She cries VERY LOUDLY (seriously, that is how it sounds, my eardrums are not what they used to be…) Sigh…, loves books, and dotes on her big brown teddy bear. She is healthy and happy. She is surprisingly intelligent and insightful for a 2-year-old, and did I say she loves books…oh yeah, if she is very quiet and you don’t hear shattering glass, she is definitely poring over a book. There is no need to worry, no need to lie awake at night wondering about the future. If we do our best, everything will turn out just fine.
However, and you mommies will surely understand, I sometimes have these fears… Will she grow up into a healthy adult, or will she inherit any of my health conditions problems? How will she stand up to a bully in school? Will she be able to cope with the harder lessons in school? Will she maintain good (if not excellent) scores throughout her student career? Will I be able to guide her well through her adolescent years? Heck, will she let me?? Will she meet the right guy? Will she love him? Will he love her long enough (‘long enough’ read ‘forever’…) Will she achieve all her dreams? Will she love me when she grows up? *Aside: Will she love me more than her Dad…* Aaaarrrrgghhh! Come to think about it, these are all Worries. I worry about her a lot, and which mother doesn’t.
And these worries turn into fears, slowly but surely. Looking around at the world, I do not receive much consolation either. Relationships of any kind are not what they used to be. Even in a relatively conservative country like India, divorce rates are creeping up the ladder, families are becoming more dysfunctional everywhere, psychos are created at every street corner (False Evidence or not, it is creepy!), educational systems losing quality, and the list is endless. Of course, there is any number of good things in a society that can influence a child: a good family, good friends, the church (or any religious institution), good teachers, true ‘soul-mate’ kind of love, and lots more.
But it all depends on the choices that my child makes. Will she let the bad influence her, or will she take in only good influences. As parents, we can guide her, but (I hate this part) we can’t make the choices for her. Sometimes, these fears make us let go of the Trust Factor and lay down absurd rules that curb the normal growth of a child. There really is a thin line between caring and controlling. So, you lay down the ground rules, teach your child everything they need to know, set a good example, and expose them to a loving and caring environment…. And wait. You Wait… to see how your child turns out…How do we do that? How did our parents do it? And what will my little girl be like when she is an adult? What kind of a woman, wife, mother, and human being will she be?
Now, tell me, how can I not let False Evidence Appearing Real creep up on me every night?