Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’re ACTUALLY afraid of until we experience that which scares us, like the fear of falling when you’re waking from a dream.
As a younger man, I remember the first time someone asked me to hold their baby. I was so nervous and uncomfortable. Why did they ask me? I couldn’t concoct a fast enough reply. It would’ve sounded like, “Erm, well, I don’t like to… if you could… well… I…” but I just shrugged and luckily someone cut in line and scooped up the little monkey.
I’ve admired children my entire life and usually sided with them. They’re untethered, unassuming and unencumbered by the bullshit of growing up, failing or the darkness otherwise smudged across the story of their lives. And adults know better when they are unfair. If a child seemed like they’d been wronged, I was quick on the draw.
But the act of holding or carrying a baby scared the piss out of me.
Over the subsequent years, I learned to carry things like bags of flour, bags of apples, bags of groceries, various sizes of weighted plates and even pets. You could say I did some unconscious on-the-job exercises for the next time that I’d be offered the chance to hold/carry a young human child. The next time would be different.
It was Thanksgiving 2004, and my sister had just birthed her second child. We drove from Los Angeles up to Marin a few days prior, but having gorged ourselves beyond repair, we were set to head back down South. We decided to make a pitstop at my sister’s home in Palo Alto. I was still timid about the idea of holding a baby, let alone my blood relation. Fortunately, and I’m not exactly sure how but I think she was sick and sleepy, we decided to lay my niece on my chest.
That’s when my admiration for children and babies became unyielding love.
I could feel her breathing body placed delicately over my heart, sound asleep. A fire lit inside me and I knew I could protect someone so much smaller myself. I wasn’t afraid of dropping babies. I just didn’t know if I could be a father. I was afraid I wouldn’t let them go once they held onto me.
So, don’t give your fears too much credence. They’re smug advisers who want you to fail, and usually have nothing nice to say. And more importantly, the whispers they drip in your ear, aren’t what you’re actually afraid of.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you today by LifeLock, a leader in identity theft protection. This post is my own opinion and my crazytalk doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of Lifelock or its staff.