Fear in parenting

Recently, I was taking a walk with a girlfriend talking about all the stuff we were dealing with regarding Amalea’s health.  We had two big appointments (yearly check-ins with her vision doctor and her seizure doctor) and I was in the midst of researching the use of essential oils in treating seizures. She had just started taking anti-seizure medication and we were monitoring her really close to see how she would react to it. It hit me all of a sudden that my daughter has some special needs. Yes, her needs are not very severe at all, but she does have special needs that we have to be aware of.  Her epilepsy and blindness have not slowed her down at all and she is a thriving and fantastic little girl. I guess it is because of that, that I don’t even realize she has anything extra that we need to be watching.

It hit me again the other day when my wonderful neighbor in Portland sent me this text, “Can you recommend a book or website I can check out so I can be as educated as possible about Ami and her health? I want her to be able to be over here and in the best possible situation to take good care of her”.  Right after Amalea’s third seizure I connected with another mom at her elementary school who has a daughter in 5th grade with pretty severe epilepsy.  She gave me some advice that has really stuck with me. She told me that she wished she allowed her daughter to spend more time with her friends from school and that she had not been so afraid to educate other parents.  She had allowed her daughter to do sleep overs at family members homes, but she was never allowed to stay at a friends house and she said she can tell that her daughter is not as close to the kids from school.  It struck me how much fear drives how we parent.  It’s the same fear that causes me to sit on the edge of the swimming pool during Amalea’s swim lessons – just in case. It’s the same fear that has caused me to only leave her with people I really trust (4 people to be exact) and even then only very rarely over night (well, and her teachers at school – I trust them, but I have also filled out a lot of forms and told them exactly how I want any emergency handled).

I don’t want to hover over my children and I don’t want my fears to drive how I parent.  I want them to be free.  I want Amalea to live just like any other 5 year old.  That is who she is.  I don’t want her to be defined by her blindness or by her epilepsy. She is a spunky, quirky, ocean and beach loving, incredibly friendly, sweet natured, artistic, music and dance loving, video game playing, swimming addict, total book worm kid.  Those are the things that define her.  Her love for people drives her.  The other day she asked me if when we move we could rent our house here for free so that all the people without homes who don’t have money would have a place to live. She loves.  She cares deeply and she can’t stand to see people hurting.  If I am too afraid to let her live and experience life then she won’t understand that injustices exists and that it is our job as humans to fight injustice and to love.  If I am too afraid she won’t be allowed to pursue the things she is passionate about – books, the ocean, music, art, video games.  She is at that age where I can sign her up for day camps and drop her off, where she can spend they day at a friends house without me – but I have to let my fears go so that she can truly live the life she wants.

June 14th, 2013 by Robin Leave a reply »

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