Friday, October 25, 2013

What are you afraid of?

Here is a list of what terrifies me, in order of severity:

1. My children getting really sick or hurt
2. Dying and leaving my young children without a mother (or vice versa, my husband dying and leaving my older children without a father)
3. Operating rooms
4. Not being able to get the things my family needs (food, clothes, car repairs, etc.)
5. Large animals that are domesticated, particularly dogs.

Are they all rational? Maybe some more than others.

Here is a (short) list of things that I am not afraid of, but what I am told to fear as a parent:
1. Strangers
2. Pesticides
3. Guns
4. Girls that like my son(s)
5. Halloween

Rather than delve too deeply into the truly terrifying list, I'm going to share more about why I'm not afraid of the things on the second list.

First, I believe that people, on the whole, are decent. I do not think they are all pedophiles and intend to do harm to my children. I lost Tommy on the beach in Wildwood when he was 5. The woman half way down the beach who realized he was lost and helped him find me again was not in the market for another kid. I think at least 90% of the other people on this planet would have done the exact same thing.

Secondly, I feed myself and my family nutritious, well balanced meals. But most what I purchase is non-organic. I also cannot be bothered with GMOs, BPAs, or chlorine in diapers. I do not have $350 a week to spend at Whole Foods or the patience to cloth diaper my baby. And I'm not going to feel guilty about this anymore.

Now the third one is a toughy, but really I am not afraid of guns. I have had so little exposure to them. I don't think I have ever seen someone fire a gun in real life. I know law enforcement officers use them to protect the majority of us non-gun owning suburbanites.  And I know that many, many Americans use them to hunt animals and eat them. Do incidences like the Sandy Hook shooting scare the crap out of me? Absolutely. But it's not the guns that scare me, it's when crazy people use them. And if you reference my first point, you'll see that since I think most people are good (and because I live in the 'burbs), the chances that I or someone I love will be the victim of gun violence, are slim. I have been a victim in a "wrong place at the wrong time" scenario and even if I had always looked both ways before crossing the street and only crossed at crosswalks my whole life, the same thing would have happened.

Girls. Can a mother really be afraid of such a thing, especially when not too long ago I was one? We all know what boys and girls do once their hormones kick in. I am confident that as long as I teach my children how to respect their bodies and those of the people they want to have sex with, they will do what is right. If you want to call me on this one though, check back in about 5 years.

And lastly, Halloween. It is really shocking to me how many people, parents in particular, are scared of this holiday. Razor blades in the candy, right? Don't eat those cookies that the little old lady down the street took the time to bake for your kids because they are most certainly poisoned. Do you know that for more than a decade a hospital system that has been scanning candy for paranoid parents has never found anything that was not supposed to be there? Also, there has never been a substantiated report of someone poisoning children on Halloween. Ok, there was this woman on long island in the 60's that didn't like the teenagers who were trick-or-treating in her neighborhood so she gave them ant buttons that were clearly labeled "poison". And also, there was a boy in TX who died after eating a cyanide-tainted pixie stick. But do you know who put the cyanide there? His father because he wanted the money from the life insurance policy he had just taken out on him.

I feel like if I was really scared about the things on the second list or always maintained a "better safe than sorry" attitude when it came to raising my kids, I'd be a basket case and my kids would never have any fun. At all. And I would turn them into basket cases. So go wild and let your kids eat a conventional apple, go for a walk around the block by themselves, and for goodness sake, let them eat that rice krispie treat Mrs. Berkovich gives them on Thursday. I dare you. 

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