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Fear and Anxiety

August 27, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
As I watched my daughter dance around the living room last night while I played upbeat tunes on my bagpipe practice chanter, I marveled at her natural inclination to do what feels good and right and fun.

She danced with abandon, skipping here, twirling there, picking up her pink blankie and swirling it up, down and around as she hip-hopped and stomped across the floor, a smile splayed across her face.

The sheer innocence and joy of the spectacle was positively breathtaking.

Thinking back on it now, though, I find Fear niggling at the corners of my heart. If I let my thoughts stray, the fear starts to overtake me. I become short of breath for a whole new reason as Anxiety catches in my throat. "This is a dream," it croaks. "This is too good to be true. Your happiness will not last. Her innocence will one day be lost. This all will be but a bittersweet memory, taunting you for all your days."

Whoa. Where did THAT come from? I am an optimist. My motto is: Everything will ALWAYS be OK. I have a plaque on the window sill above my kitchen sink that reads: "Worry ends where faith begins." I rarely get anxious; I do not live in fear.

But those thoughts were real. They were loud and clear.

And it's not the first time. The first time was in the first few hours of Emma Skye's life. She was perfect. She was unmarred. And she would not stay that way. In the first days, these thoughts are what fueled my baby blues.

I heard from Fear and Anxiety again when Emma began to walk. "Now you're in for it," they warned. "Sure, it's a great accomplishment, but also leads to DANGER!" They often spoke through other parents.

Fear reared its ugly head again when she turned 2. "She's truly a toddler now; she'll never be a baby again," it whispered.

Well, I suppose, all you parents out there reading this are nodding your heads and thinking: "Get used to it! It doesn't get any better!" First day of kindergarten, first day of high school, getting her driver's license, her first after-school job, prom night, her first day of college, her wedding day, her first child, and on and on and on.

I guess I'll just set aside a place for Fear and Anxiety in my heart. I don't think they're going anywhere for a long time. I refuse to feed them, however! And I think I'll lock them down. They mustn't go running around rampant. I'll know exactly where they are and what they're up to.

Except when I don't ...

Thinking again about last night, Fear and Anxiety start to pound at their cell door. My heart flutters and constricts as I think about Emma's shining face.

I never want to forget it! Nothing and no one can take it away from me!

Sigh. Thank God my husband got it all on video.


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Blog Photos

A similar dance session a couple weeks ago while I played the pipes.