I'm linking this blog to another for the sake of reference: The Most Important Article On Safety...
Little did I know that such permanent bliss would be paralleled with deep fear. At first it was "is he eating enough," "why is he crying," "is his belly button supposed to look like that?"
Then it was, "hurry, corner protectors on everything, baby gates on every door, in front of every stair, for heaven's sake, LOWER THE CRIB MATTRESS!"
If it wasn't an innocent bite of dog food, or his first spill on the concrete, it was stressing over the peeling (yes, I said peeling) of grapes and on his not so well developed social skills. "Could something be wrong!"
I felt in my heart if he could just be older, more independent, the fear would subside, but as he does get older and he becomes more dependent I see the fear does not subside, it just morphs into a different kind of fear. "Will he be made fun of?" "Is he really safe at school?" "How far is too far? How much is too much?" The questions stream through my head, heavy... burdensome.
And THEN - I visit social media. Or THEN I watch the news. Fear becomes not only present, but overwhelming. It is evident the danger that lurks in the world, and my every choice can keep my children from - or expose them to - said danger.
It's terrifying, really.
You think I'm exaggerating.
Admittedly - I have chosen NOT to visit certain establishments alone with my kids out of fear. I prefer to walk through my neighborhood with my kids only with my husband present. The desire for a gun in my home comes from fear - and produces fear at the slight chance that at some point they could access it despite my efforts to keep it from them, and then - again - I would be at fault for their demise.
I have said - and do somewhat hold to - my children won't have the freedom to 'ride their bikes through town' as I did. Half of that is the difference between small town and - well - not small town. The other half is because people are creeps, and I don't know when creeps are roaming the same road as my kids.
And I find in this that I mourn. I mourn the life I wanted my kids to experience. The simple pleasure of childhood:
being able to watch the street lamps to know when to be home
playing flashlight tag or kick the can throughout the neighborhood
swimming at a friends house - with no outside adult supervision
riding my bike all summer, everyday, from 8 - 4 through town, stopping only for lunch
It's a different world we live in, and I'm praying for guidance on the line we walk on allowing our kids to be kids and parenting them well with their best interest (and safety) in mind. Mostly, I'm praying with the guidance comes peace from the fear, the fear that my actions will destroy the lives of the very beings I love most. Be it the food that I feed them, the water I let them swim in, the distance I let them wonder, the homes I let them frequent, the stores in which we visit...
and the lack thereof.
Because not experiencing life is not the answer.
Because without the freedom to be independent and make decisions apart from my parents, I wouldn't know that character is built when you're not being watched.
Because - frankly - I can't keep them in a bubble forever. It is not healthy. For me. Or for them.
And as for me and my house - well - we are choosing Jesus. We choose to trust. We choose to use the common sense and wisdom He's given, then we choose to lay down fear at the foot of the cross. We choose to live in the joy of the Lord, rather than the fears of the enemy.
That is experiencing life, albeit, life different than I had growing up.
That is building character.
That is healthy.
And as always - Jesus is the answer.