Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Steve and I were talking this weekend about how it's harder to raise kids these days than it used to be. We imagine it is, anyway, since we can't speak first hand to it. I'm fairly certain my Mom would attest to this too--that it sure seems harder these days as she watches her four daughters do it. I could come up with a variety of reasons why this is so, but the one I'm mainly talking about is fear.
I hate that I'm even admitting this (mostly I hate that it's true) but, though I try my best to appear all laid back and fun loving, I let fear take its grip on me way too often. I've mentioned this before in my post on babies and germs, but I didn't go into as much detail as I could have. I didn't talk about how when I think about flying across the country, I picture myself on that plane, Parker on my lap, and wonder: How many germs will there be? And will he catch something serious? Could I wipe down the things he'll touch before he touches them? I didn't talk about how when I see instagrams of young kids riding the subways of NYC, I wonder: Could I? Are those Moms crazy like me and do they make their kids wash their hands right after getting off? When I read an article about Triple E being discovered nearby, I make a mental note: Go inside before dusk. When I come across an article about the hazards of pesticides on apples, I remember: Buy organic apples only. When Parker has a rash, I study it carefully: Is it serious? Or is it just from sunscreen or sweat? I tell myself to stay off Google. I mostly fail at this.
It sucks. Living like there's some teetering anvil over your head is just no way to live. I wasn't raised in a bubble. How'd I get this way? I didn't wash my hands incessantly, I wasn't told, "Don't eat that!" "Careful that the bee doesn't sting you in case you are allergic!" "We can't go to the beach in case of THE RIP TIDE!" I just lived. Disease and mosquitoes and junk food existed then too. I'm sure I got colds and sore throats but I came out of them alive. So, I ask again, how'd I get this way?
We're all living in this world of so much sharing. The media tells us every time a child is kidnapped or a person dies of West Nile. Headlines warn us of sharks off the Cape. Facebook statuses share stories of an illness in the family with a request for prayer. Emails deliver the news of a young, healthy mother, given months to live. Terrorism, flu shots, transplants, MRSA, meningitis, drunk driving (or, worse yet: texting while driving!), miscarriages, shootings (even at movie theatres! Is there no place safe?).
It's all too much. There is a beauty in the sharing, yes. Finding refuge in another's story is sacred. Discovering common ground. The same sharing that can create the fear allows for that too. And don't get me wrong, there is so much good in that. So much good in the support system that can be built through our ability to quickly and efficiently share information these days. But it seems to have made me a worrier. Such a worrier that, I'm afraid, it robs my joy at times. Surely all of these things (or most, anyway) have existed for years. There've been sharks off the Cape before, yes? And kidnappings before, right? And some other God-forsaken mosquito-spread illness, correct? We just know everything now. Nothing bad ever goes unreported. And I'm sick of letting it handicap me.
I'm just not entirely sure of how to make it stop. For now, I'm praying.
Any of you struggle with the same things?