August 10, 2009

Face Your Fears

Julius and I were discussing what we should do about our "summer trip". Summer is fading fast and soon school will start and we will be thrown into the day-in, day-out loss of freedom.

I have these fantasies that I could take him out of school whenever I want and run away to another town for a day and play hookey. Being self-employed, this is one of those things you can do -- except now I'm supposed to set a good example and NOT let him be truant. Damn this whole teaching of responsibility thing!

We began reminiscing about how much fun we had at the water park. One of Julius's more memorable experiences was going down a slide he refers to as the "toilet bowl". Probably I don't even need to describe it based on that nickname. But for a child of six, going down a long tube and into a gigantic bowl in which you spin around and around and then drop into a very deep pool when you've never been in a pool that is deep enough to go over you head ... it's pretty intense.

He was a trooper, though. Out he came from the bottom of the toilet bowl and dropped into the pool and promptly sank like a stone. I sat there for a few seconds and waited for him to pop back up and he didn't. He's not a buoyant child. Finally he struggled to the top and started to sink again but the lifeguard at the opening of the bowl grabbed him and swam him over to the side.

Of all the things at the park that day, this is the one he remembers most and he's very proud of it.

"I went on the toilet bowl, Mom. Even TORI wouldn't go on it." (Tori is the 16-year-old daughter of our daycare lady.)

I nodded. "I'm really proud of you. That's a big slide!"

He leaned back on the couch and nodded slowly in agreement. "I faced my fears. I like facing my fears."

* * *

My mother is claustrophobic. On a recent trip to the doctor she was forced to ride the elevator eight flights up. We even tried the stairs, but they were very narrow with no windows. She decided the elevator was the lesser of two evils.

There was a little trouble with the elevators. The light on the button to call the elevator was broken so we weren't sure we were calling the elevator or not. Then two of the four elevators were making strange noises, grinding and squeaking and occasionally a bang or two.

We went through several failed attempts to get her into an elevator that she was satisfied with. Julius couldn't understand why we weren't getting into any of the cars that arrived. She tried to explain it while setting a good example for him, but was not succeeding very well.

Finally I said, "Julius what do you think about facing your fears?"

He answered enthusiastically, "It's GOOD mom. Facing your fears is really good!"

The next time the elevator opened, my mom flung herself into the car with us racing after her to catch up.


  1. Good morning! I left you an award over at my blog. Have a great week!

  2. Tell Julius a personal thank you for me. At 50 I am just overcoming so many fears I lived with. Some might say I am taking a risk but I live my life with joy now. Fear is a cage that keeps getting smaller. Break out now while you can!

  3. Isn't it cool how kids can teach us so many lessons?

  4. I hate FACING my fears ... but REMINISCING about having faced them is a good time, indeed!

  5. Its seems as I have suspected all is one big toilet bowl!! :D thank you for the smile x and well done Julius and Mum!

  6. I am so NOT buoyant and all these years I thought it was my scoliosis. A Navy Seal once tried to teach me to float and when I failed (after he said it was NOT possible to fail floating)he just scratched his head and said, Ive never seen that before.

    My mom is claustrophobic too. But I think it's all in her head because sometimes we catch her not being claustrophobic. She just wants the attention and my sister and I are OVER IT.

  7. That Julius is wise beyond his years!

  8. If my kid said she likes facing her fears I would be very proud.

  9. I'm sure Julius is so proud of plunging from the toilet bowl water slide, as he should be for trying something he was afraid of. I don't know that I would have been that brave at that age. Good night~

  10. Love your blog! You've given me a couple more eye wrinkles. So, thanks a lot.

  11. I agree with Julius, and Tatiana- it does feel great after facing your fears, no matter how tough you think it is at the time.

    I liked this post with the two incidents nicely tied together.

  12. Excellent post! We all have to face our fears at some point, whether we like it or not, and to do so with courage is far more satisfying than to be dragged into whatever kicking and screaming. How lovely that Julius was able to help your Mom face hers!

  13. out of the mouths of babes... that's one smart little cookie you've got there! good for him.. to teach his grams a lesson they usually teach the little ones. :D


  14. I have a friend I want to send over to this post: she was trapped in a broken elevator as a child in NYC, TWICE, and has a deep-set claustrophobia. I once lost her for awhile in downtown San Francisco because she was going so far out of her way out of a parking structure to avoid getting in an elevator.

  15. Hey Wendy, a reply to your comment on my blog, the 12th is the peak of the meteor shower, but you can see them for days on either side. What they saw was probably part of it.

  16. Julius is a wise old soul. Glad to see he could convince Grandma to conquer her fears. Now if only he could work on mine..... :)


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