The Walk of the Unashamed

The other day I had to have a difficult conversation with someone about a difficult situation. It was the kind of conversation that it is best to prep for. To think about and maybe even write down what you want to say. And a conversation that I had been putting off for months….and people kept telling me over and over I needed to have. And I’m not even really sure what it was that was keeping me from it. Until I started talking.
The conversation happened when I was least ready for it with absolutely zero prep time. And I caught myself saying the same phrase over and over...  "i was afraid that..._________(fill in the blank with one of a half dozen things)."

Somehow, over the last few months I have let fear get the best of me in lots of situations. Personal and professional. And I have tried really hard to raise my kids so they never let fear win. However, sometimes fear is a good thing.  For example, I am afraid of snakes and bears and black ski slopes. And steering clear of them might help keep me from breaking my neck or getting eaten. I am afraid of getting in trouble. I am afraid of consequences...and sometimes that is enough to keep me from doing really stupid things. But finding a balance. Between healthy fear and irrational fear….well, I’m not sure I have that figured out. I found this piece on my computer this morning. I wrote it months ago…and never posted it. And, made me think that maybe my six year old has a better grasp on it than I do.

The Walk of Shame

I am not the most patient girl.
I will do almost anything to avoid long lines.
Yesterday someone asked me if I would be hitting the mall on tax free weekend. I said I’d rather have a pelvic exam.
More new In and Out burgers opened up in town and the wait in the drive through is a couple hours.
No fast food hamburger is worth that kind of time (and yes, I’ve had an In and Out burger before. Love the fries. Not a fan of the 1000 island dressing).
It took me three trips to the DMV last time before I finally gave in and waited it out.

So yesterday was my last official day of summer and I’d put it off as long as I could…
I owed my son a date to Hawaiian Falls.
Just me and him.
It was hot and crowded and I like wearing bathing suits in front of people even less than I like waiting in long lines.
Owen put sunscreen on my back (meaning I am super burned except for a few 6 year old hand prints on my back!) and we hit the wave pool. And then I thought we’d see if he ws tall enough for some rides this year.

My favorite waterpark ride is the one that looks like a giant funnel and it happens to be one of the tallest at the park.
He hit the height requirement. But just barely.
And you could ride double so I thought it would be perfect. But there was a really long wait for a double tube. After Owen watched at least dozen people grab single tubes and hop into line ahead of us. Owen announced that he could ride by himself. So we grabbed single tubes and hopped in line.
A really long windy over four story line. That took the better part of the hour. I was a little nervous about how he’d do. But he watched rider after rider and seemed excited rather than his usual scared or cautious. All the way to the top.
And I hate heights and we were pretty high, so when he’d lean against the rail to look out or watch, I’d pull him back. I tried not to think about it or pretend that my stomach wasn’t flipping  a little. It was finally our turn and Owen insisted on going first. He still didn’t seem afraid. He put his tube in the water and I went help him in and he slipped straight through. We tried again and his hands couldn’t reach. He fell through the middle again. He may have met the height requirement but couldn’t fit in or on the tube. The lifeguard tried to suggest laying across but it was too late. The tears were already coming. And they kept coming. I tried to convince him. And usually this is where I give my kids a good shove and make them do it anyways. But I knew, that in this situation that would do more damage than good. So I quickly said it was ok. We grabbed our tubes and head back down. All four flights. Hitting people with our tubes the whole way.

The walk of shame.

Because people kept saying. Did he get scared? Was he too little?
Owen didn’t look up once.
Some even laughed. And I wanted to punch them in the face.
A few were sympathetic and said they were scared the first time too.
I just wanted down fast.
And was afraid maybe we’d have to spend the rest of our afternoon in the lazy river.
Or the toddler play area.

I don’t want my kids to live scared.
But I also want them to be ok saying.
Not doing something until they are ready.
So I told him it was ok and asked what he wanted to do next.

He marched straight over to another slide.
Not quite as high.
No tube required.
And flew down it with a crazy smile on his face.
Then went straight back in line for another slide.
And another.
And another.

(having trouble embedding, so if it doesn't show, click here to "shake it out"