Tuesday, August 30, 2011
How Not To Be Scared
Laughing and screaming through the summer storm, as thunder rumbles around us and rain starts to pelt us, we tumble toward to our red VW microbus. A mass of rubber boots, rain ponchos, shorts and tan little bodies all pile into the side door of the bus. Before anyone is in their seat….or for that matter…before even the door is closed…we are traveling to the front beach to better experience the storm moving over Cape Cod. This was my mother’s reaction to storms—“Let’s get closer so we can see it better and really feel the thunder in our chests!”
My grandmother, on the other hand, was home at the beach house hiding in a back bedroom with the curtains drawn and the lights out and jumping in fear with every thunder bolt or flash of lightening.
I asked my grandmother once, why was it that she was so scared of storms whereas her daughter loved them. She said that her mother was deathly afraid of storms and she passed that trait on to my grandmother when she was little.
My grandmother said she was determined not to do the same to my mother—she wanted my mother to be strong and fearless. My grandmother realized she would have to pretend not to be afraid of anything. So all through my mother’s childhood, my very fearful little grandmother would bravely sit quietly through storms, swim with my mother in the cold and rough Marblehead waves and keep her eyes open on scary amusement park rides.
My grandmother said with pride—“and see your mother is not afraid of anything. She won swimming championships, she traveled to NYC and started a new life by herself and now she runs toward the storms. That is what I always wanted for my daughter—to be brave and strong. “
So as I watch The Beast running towards her future with a wild abandon that excites and frightens me—I want to grasp her hand like when she was little crossing a busy street, but instead--I smile calmly. I take a deep breath and try my best to convince her I am not scared because I too want my daughter to brave and strong.